One week after North Carolina began allowing businesses to reopen this month, the number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 surged by nearly 500 in a single day.

But health officials soon concluded it wasn’t cause for alarm. It only meant that the number of tests being conducted was rising quickly. In fact, it was just one piece of erratic data with which the state was grappling—it had also seen the number of hospitalized patients dip by nearly 100 cases one day, only to rise again by 46 in under 24 hours.

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