The rate of community spread and unknown source spread have jumped in Craven County over the past two months, coinciding with in-person voting during those two months.
Cases caused by community spread and unknown spread earlier accounted for a small portion of total COVID-19 cases.
For example, one case from an unknown source could spread the virus to a larger number of family and friends. So when reported by health agencies, it would be one case of community spread and several cases from a known source.
But since October, community spread and unknown spread together account for 1 in 3 new COVID-19 infections in Craven County.
The timing of this increase could be tied to Election Day and the lead-up to it.
The rate of community spread and unknown source spread jumped significantly in October and September, coinciding with in-person early voting in October and in-person voting on Election Day.
Community spread is when you catch the virus out in the community from an unknown source, such as at school or work, at church, shopping and dining–and standing in line to vote.
Unknown spread is when contract tracers simply can’t figure out how an individual caught the virus.
There’s really little difference between community spread and unknown spread.
Since Election Day, there have been 65 cases of community spread and 19 cases of unknown origin in Craven County. They total 84 cases out of the 252 total new cases that arose during that time–exactly 33 percent.
Compare that to the same time period the previous month, Oct. 3-Oct. 16. During that time period, there were 282 new cases, of which 68 were community spread and 21 were unknown spread, totaling 89 cases–31.5 percent of total new cases.
In September, it was 15 percent. In August, it was 11.4 percent.
Other than government agencies and medical practices, it is impossible to compare the statistical data to anecdotal information due to privacy restrictions about exactly who is sick, their individual demographic information, and how they got sick.
Craven County is one of the state’s more conservative counties politically, and it is statistically more likely that conservatives are suffering from COVID-19 in higher numbers in Craven County in general.
But due to a higher percentage of conservatives voting in-person on Nov. 3 and their resistance to wearing masks and taking other precautions, conservatives are even more likely to have contracted the virus and did so on Election Day, Nov. 3.
If that’s true, it means that one day accounts for a significant portion of the this month’s COVID-19 growth in Craven County.
It could explain the average 30 cases per day that were reported over the weekend.
Averaging 20 new cases a day for 14 days or more, which Craven County has done as recently as early October, earns the county a listing as a “county of concern” by the White House COVID-19 Task Force.
It can take as long as three weeks after exposure for a blood antibody test to turn positive.
This weekend marked Days 18-20 following Election Day.