By Jonathan Limehouse
March 9, 2021

For Daisha Haynesworth, the recent decline in Covid-19 cases and the increased vaccine supply in North Carolina are “like a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Haynesworth, 28, said she’s looking forward to the day when she can invite more friends over for dinner, but for now, the Ohio native remains apprehensive.

“If you [traveled] last week, I don’t want to hang out with you,” she said. “I think that’s something I’ve made very clear to my friend groups.”

More than 365 days have passed since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in North Carolina. Since then, nearly 875,000 cases have been medically confirmed in the state, and more than 11,535 people statewide have died from the infectious disease.

But state health officials are cautiously optimistic. From a peak in January, the average number of new cases being reported each day has fallen significantly. So have the number of resulting deaths and hospitalizations.

Last week, state health officials moved Mecklenburg County into the “yellow” tier of the state’s Covid alert system, which indicates “significant” spread — an improvement from the previous “orange” tier, which indicates “substantial” spread.

North Carolina health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen attributed the state’s declining numbers to several factors, including a growing number of people who are being vaccinated. As of midday Sunday, the state reported that about 1.8 million people had gotten at least one dose of an anti-covid vaccine.

“While we are pleased with the improving trends, there is still more work to do to protect each other,” Cohen said in a statement.

Although young people in North Carolina generally are not yet eligible for the vaccine, Haynesworth said she’s happy that those who are eligible are deciding to get their doses.

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