Like everything else in the 2020s, the pandemic is extremely partisan.
Republicans want to reopen the economy and Democrats want to keep it locked down.
Republican 13th District Congressman Ted Budd in an email said, “When Joe Biden said it is ‘Neanderthal thinking’ to reopen our country, he insulted thousands of Americans who are working to put food on the table or their families.”
Budd also put his finger on one of the key differences in Republican and Democratic thinking on the pandemic response by saying, “Even though the Democrats don’t want you to think so, our citizens are more than capable of keeping themselves healthy without the government mandating their decisions.”
Budd added, “We are not in the same place that we were a year ago. It is irrational to think that the primary solution to economic growth is trillions of dollars in federal spending. Reopening our businesses and getting people back to work is the solution.”
On March 23, 2020, when the restrictions were being implemented, Gov. Roy Cooper said, “Each and every choice we are making is intended to flatten the curve and provide our health care system the ability to treat the sickest patients in the coming months.”
The curve has definitely been flattened. Cooper said that the reason for the unprecedented restrictions on people’s lives was to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
And the healthcare system in North Carolina was not overwhelmed. But now, in March 2021, hospitalizations and new cases are way down. Tuesday, March 9, less than 1,000 people (997) in the state tested positive for COVID-19, and in this state, with 10.5 million people, 1,147 were hospitalized with COVID-19.
Cone Health has closed its special COVID-19 only hospital because the healthcare experts at Cone determined it was no longer needed. But restrictions that 18 months ago would have been considered draconian are still in place by executive order of the governor.
A bill that passed the Republican North Carolina legislature to reopen the schools so that all students have the opportunity to get back in the classroom – but also providing the flexibility for students to continue with virtual classes – was vetoed by Cooper. Cooper and the legislature finally reached a compromise on reopening schools on Wednesday, March 10.