This week Gov. Roy Cooper slightly relaxed the shutdown of the state’s economy because of COVID-19 with Phase 2.5.

On Friday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. gyms, fitness centers, museums, bowling alleys, skating rinks and similar businesses were allowed to open at 30 percent capacity.

Bars, amusement parks, bingo parlors, movie theaters, entertainment venues and many other businesses are still closed by Cooper’s executive orders.

On Sept. 11, Cooper may allow even more businesses in the state to open for business in what he calls Phase 3.

But it raises the question of how good the numbers have to be before Cooper allows North Carolinians to go back about their business. If all restrictions were removed tomorrow, it wouldn’t force anyone to go out in and stand in a crowd of hundreds of people. Nobody would have to leave home without a mask. In fact anyone who wanted to stay home could do so. The governor doesn’t have to order people who fear getting COVID-19 to stay home and take precautions, people are perfectly free to do that on their own.

August 20 was the last day that there were over 1,000 people in the hospital with COVID-19 in North Carolina. Since then the number has remained below 1,000.

For some unexplained reason the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) can only report the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 once a week. The NCDHHS reports the number of new cases and the total number of people who have tested positive in the state since March, every day. But on Monday, Aug. 31, NCDHHS reported that 145,884 of the 167,313 people who had tested positive had recovered. NCDHHS also reported that a total of 2,808 people had died from COVID-19 since March.

So a total of 18,621 people of the 10.5 million people in the state of North Carolina had active cases of COVID-19 on Monday, Aug. 31, which is far different from the 167,313 cases that NCDHHS published on its website.

A fact that Cooper might explain is why it is important for the people of North Carolina to constantly be informed of the total number of people in the state who have tested positive since March.

Of those 18,621 people in North Carolina with active cases of COVID-19, there were 946 who were hospitalized.

The total number of deaths as of Friday, Sept. 4 was 2,839; of those, 1,620 were people over the age of 75 and 639 between the ages of 65 and 74.

Since the NCDHHS started recording figures in March there has only been one death of a child under 18 years old and only three deaths in the 18-to-24 age group. A child or young adult has a much greater chance of dying from a car accident than COVID-19, but the roads remain open.