How Much Longer Will NC Residents Need To Stay Home?
North Carolina’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus seem to be working.
“We are seeing some effectiveness from the early and aggressive actions that have been taken here to control the spread of the virus,” said North Carolina state epidemiologist Zack Moore.
But Moore cautioned that the state is still in the “acceleration phase” of the pandemic. According to a model from the University of Washington, North Carolina is expected to see its greatest number of coronavirus deaths per day on April 15.
Moore said residents should continue following the statewide stay-at-home order and practicing social distancing.
Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris had a similar message at a press conference Wednesday, when the county -- the biggest in the state -- reported a 5% increase in the number of new coronavirus cases -- from 805 to 848.
“It looks like the curve is beginning to flatten,” she said. “But it also means that we have to--have to--continue social and physical distancing."
As many as 750,000 North Carolinians could become infected by the end of May with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, if the state relaxes all of its social distancing policies at the end of April, according to a model released Monday by scientists at the University of North Carolina, Duke University and others.
If some restrictions remain in place, according to the model, the number of infections drops by two-thirds -- to 250,000. Gov. Roy Cooper as of Wednesday evening had not said whether he planned to extend the stay-at-home order that expires April 29.
If the stay-at-home-order is not extended, how will North Carolina residents go back to work, school and other daily activities while keeping the virus from spreading?
“Those are exactly discussions that we’re having and I think everyone across the country is having right now,” Moore said.
Moore said if this wave of coronavirus infections slows down and officials scale back social distancing policies, another wave of coronavirus is possible and with it, another round of social distancing efforts. Future treatments could make catching the virus less dangerous or deadly, he said.
“Unless we get a very effective vaccine, this will be with us for years," he said. "It’s hard to know what the longer-term future holds, but I don’t expect that we will have seen the end of COVID-19 anytime soon.”
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