Schools can’t reopen with full in-person classes.
Gyms, fitness centers and bars remained closed because North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says that his interpretation of the “the science, the data and the facts” is that it won’t be safe.
Since March, North Carolina has been ruled by Cooper alone when it comes to COVID-19 decisions. The Emergency Management Act, which gives the governor the power to issue executive orders in an emergency, states that Cooper has to get consensus from the Council of State to make certain statewide decisions.
When Cooper asked for consensus from the Council of State in March to implement the statewide stay-at-home order, he didn’t get it. The vote has been reported as 6-2 against the stay-at-home order without providing more information to the Council of State, such as a copy of the executive order, but Cooper decided that he didn’t need the consensus of the Council of State and implemented the stay-at-home order without it.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is currently suing Cooper over this decision. Forest is the Republican candidate for governor and is running against Cooper.
Cooper continually says that he is making his decisions based on “the science, the data and the facts” but is revealing that information in a limited fashion.
One of the numbers that Cooper and Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen often talk about is the number of COVID-19 cases in the state and the fact that it continues to rise.
A point they don’t make nearly as often is that increased testing contributes to that rise, and the percentage of those testing positive is fairly consistent – ranging from 8 percent to 11 percent.
But what they rarely if ever mention is the number of active COVID-19 cases in the state. According to the figures published daily on the NCDHHS website, once a person tests positive they are always on the list of positive cases. The fact that the person tested positive in March and fully recovered months ago, doesn’t remove them from the list.
According to the Carolina Journal, the number of active cases on Wednesday, July 15 was closer to 24,000 than to the 91,000 being reported by NCDHHS. In a state with a population of 10.5 million, 24,000 is 0.23 percent of the population.
Also, the percentage of positive cases, which remains relatively stable, is suspect because testing sites are not required to report negative tests. Some sites report both positive and negative results and some don’t. So while the positive test results may be 8 percent to 11 percent, it also may be much lower or higher, but without all testing sites reporting both positive and negative results there is no way to know.
And the test results don’t represent results from the general population, because the state has targeted people who have symptoms, people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and people in high-risk groups, not the general population.
Common sense says that if you target people with symptoms the results are going to be higher than the results in the general population.
If the decisions made by Cooper are being based on “the science, the data and the facts,” it seems Cooper should make that information available to the public.