NC officials say protests did not lead to spike in COVID-19 cases

North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- On Thursday, North Carolina reported more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 and during an afternoon news conference, health leaders faced a direct question about whether big events have led to the increase.

They call those events ‘supespreaders’ because there have been things that have taken place nationwide where there is a high likelihood of transmission of the virus or where a lot of people have gotten sick.

“What I think we are seeing is a slow and steady increase in our cases,” NC Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said in reply.

Protests have been a worry since they started last month, with thousands of people in Charlotte and across the state and country taking part.

Officials say there is some encouraging news on this front. Studies have shown the rate of transmission at these events is low because many people are wearing masks.

Health officials say there have been other events like the ones at the speedway in Alamance County or even near beaches that have caused spread.

Cohen says while these events actually do not account for the spike they’re seeing, they are not helping. “We haven’t seen one event that has set off a fire in our state like we have seen in other states and that’s a good thing. I do want to thank all North Carolinians who are really working hard to do their part on social distancing and wearing a face covering. I think it is working.”  

Cohen says the outbreaks they are seeing are in workplaces, particularly higher risk settings, and at home. “What we’re also seeing is that while folks may get exposed and pick up the virus at work, they are bringing it back home and to their communities, so we are starting to see more of the spread in leisure activities.”

Meanwhile, during a briefing Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper said North Carolinians can expect an announcement next week regarding the state’s back to school plan.

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