Gov. Roy Cooper saw his shadow today and ordered five more weeks of shutdown.
The original reason Cooper gave for shutting down the economy of the state, forcing businesses to close and people to stay at home was so COVID-19 cases wouldn’t overwhelm the hospitals, but that has long been forgotten. The idea that the numbers of COVID-19 cases had to stabilize has been pushed to the side, because the numbers have not only stabilized, most are trending down.
If there was any doubt that the COVID-19 shutdown is political, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen erased that by starting what was supposed to be a nonpartisan report on the facts and data that prevented the state from opening with a statement it was time for North Carolina to expand Medicaid.
Cohen said, “Before I begin with data, I just want to give a shout out to the state of Missouri for voting yesterday to expand Medicaid. We in North Carolina are now one of only 12 states that have not said yes to providing North Carolinians with affordable access to health coverage and bringing billions of dollars into our economy. It is time to expand Medicaid here in North Carolina.”
There is no more partisan issue in Raleigh than expanding Medicaid. The state doesn’t have a budget this year because Cooper refused to negotiate any portion of the budget until the Republican leadership in the legislature agreed to expand Medicaid. In the state Senate, the Republicans were unable to get one Democratic senator to cross over and vote for a budget because it did not include Medicaid expansion.
After her highly partisan spiel on Medicaid expansion, Cohen went through the numbers that look like what the people of North Carolina had been told repeatedly was necessary to move to Phase 3, but the numbers were not deemed good enough. Except for the percentage of those testing positive, which Cohen now says needs to be at 5 percent, she didn’t inform the people of North Carolina how low the numbers had to go in order for Cooper to allow people to get back to work and businesses to go back to a more normal operation.
All the charts showed the numbers either down or stabilized, but evidently not down or stabilized enough to reopen the economy.
During the period where Cooper answered screened questions from the media, with no chance of a follow-up question, he was asked several times about bars being closed when restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries are all allowed to serve alcoholic beverages. He said bars were areas of high transmission and gave some anecdotal evidence but no science, facts or data to support that statement.
He also didn’t explain why someone served a drink at a restaurant at 10:59 p.m. was less likely to transmit COVID-19 to someone else, than the same person served a drink at 11:01.