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North Carolina passes 5,000 COVID-19 deaths

North Carolina passes 5,000 COVID-19 deaths
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North Carolina this weekend surpassed 5,000 total COVID-19 deaths.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported the state on Saturday reached 5,005 coronavirus deaths and 332,261 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Analysis by the Raleigh News & Observer found that almost 1,000 of those deaths were recorded in the past month.

The newspaper also reported the coronavirus death toll is five times the number of combined fatalities from every hurricane in North Carolina history. 

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State data shows that more than half of those who have died from COVID-19 in the state were 75 or older, while 4 percent were 25 to 49 years old. 

Although the Black population in the state amounts to 21 percent of the state population, 29 percent of those who have died were Black. Sixty-two percent of those who died from the virus were white. 

Beth Booth, the Graham County health director, told the News & Observer that she’s more concerned about North Carolina's death rate or percent of positive cases. The positivity rate increased to 8.3 percent in recent days. Health officials have recommended states target a 5 percent positivity rate, which indicates a manageable spread of the virus. 

North Carolina’s grim milestone comes after the U.S. surpassed 250,000 COVID-19 deaths this week. As of Sunday afternoon, the country has documented 256,347 deaths and more than 12 million total cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The increasing death toll comes as Thanksgiving and winter approach, which health experts expect will lead to rising fatality counts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation one week before Thanksgiving advising Americans not to travel for the holiday.