RALEIGH – Arbitrary: based on or determined by individual preference or convenience rather than by necessity or the intrinsic nature of something; an arbitrary standard.
This term continues to fit neatly with how the coronavirus Pandemic Panic is measured and reported across the United States, and it can be seen clearly in North Carolina.
North Carolina health officials reported this week that hospitalizations from/with COVID-19 continue to fall to the lowest levels in over a month, dipping well below 900. Similarly, Health Secretary Mandy Cohen reports that emergency room visits due to COVID continue a months long trend of falling, and even case numbers have been falling for about six weeks now.
Good news, right? Don’t get ahead of yourself; good news is not allowed to carry a narrative.
The breathless reporting by local news networks on Thursday is that North Carolina is in the ‘Red Zone’ according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Why? Well, for completely arbitrary reasons, of course!
“ABC News obtained the weekly White House Coronavirus Task Force weekly briefing for governors. It shows that North Carolina is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the 20th highest rate in the country. North Carolina is in the yellow zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 5% and 10%, with the 24th highest rate in the country.
According to the report, “North Carolina has seen stability in new cases and stability in test positivity over the last week, but notable increases in Wake, Pitt, Orange, and Rowan counties” — where universities have reported clusters.
Mecklenburg County, Wake County and Pitt County had the highest number of new cases over the last 3 weeks and represent 23.9% of new cases in North Carolina. […]”
So, case numbers continue to fall, ER visits and hospitalizations continue to fall, and deaths are hardly ever reported by the media any longer because they aren’t alarming enough to lead with. Yet, because the virus continues to spread — as viruses are prone to do and we were NEVER going to stop, the Old North State lands in the Red Zone.
Because not enough not-sick people are getting tested to confirm they are in fact not sick, North Carolina lands in the ‘Yellow Zone.’
‘Clusters’ of positive cases emerging around universities and colleges were met with such fear and panic that those institutions reversed course and canceled in-person classes, while effectively kicking coeds off campuses across the state.
Students reported being terrified. Student newspapers blasted the administrations for recklessly endangering kids lives by having the gall to invite them back on campus. Test-positive, or exposed students were forced into quarantine that more resembled prisons than dorm life.
And yet, not a single headline reads, “College Student Hospitalized with COVID-19”
So, as North Carolina is relegated to the ‘Red Zone,’ take comfort in the fact that such designations are completely arbitrary. The public health ’emergency’ has been over in North Carolina for months, if it ever even constituted an emergency in the first place.