RALEIGH – More than a year after elected officials and health department bureaucrats abused emergency powers to shutdown businesses, livelihoods, schools, and citizens’ movements, Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that he plans to lift most COVID-related restrictions by June 1, as long as virus metrics ‘remain stable’ and people continue getting vaccinated.
“With at least two-thirds of adults vaccinated, our public health experts believe we’ll have enough protection across our communities to live more safely with this virus and to begin to put the pandemic behind us,” Cooper said at a press conference. He added, “With increasing vaccinations and ongoing work to slow the spread, I anticipate we’ll be able to lift all mandatory social distancing, capacity and mass gathering restrictions by June 1.”
What is not being said here, after the last year of lockdown and the seemingly inevitable ebbs and flows of COVID contagion, is that the restrictions officials like Cooper placed on individuals, organizations, and businesses didn’t actually do anything, except possibly prolong the misery of dealing with the fear factor.
Yet now that the virus has followed roughly the same trajectory it would have without restrictions, the pressure to remove economy strangling restrictions is reaching a critical threshold. High vaccination rates now give Cooper cover to lift restrictions on capacity and gatherings, but one of the most controversial measures will stay.
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Fittingly, the most useless and ineffective of these restrictions, the statewide mask mandate, will remain in place beyond the June 1 deadline.
Specifically that science — the study from peer-reviewed study from Stanford University and published by the National Institute of Health — says:
“[…] The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. […]”
Despite this, but predictably so, Cooper said he’ll only relax the security theater masking requirement if two-thirds of adults get vaccinated, effectively holding the citizenry hostage to pressure people into inoculations, and even then only partially.
“After June 1, we hope that that mask mandate would only be required for people in public places indoors,” Cooper expounded. Cohen added her own patronizing ultimatum, opining, “It’s up to you to get us to that two-thirds goal and beyond as quickly as possible, so we can live with this virus and begin to put this pandemic behind us.”
As with other moves to relax restrictions (or even to implement them) Cooper seems to be a follower in the sense that, with vaccinations picking up pace and better, less fearful ‘science and data’ proliferating, people have in large part returned to normalcy as much as they can. Those areas where the government is standing in there way, however, remain a pain point.
Small-business owners and those most suffocated by COVID restrictions are doubtless looking forward to a summer of higher capacity and revenues to start climbing out of hole Pandemic Panic policies have put them in. Yet, as much as we in our communities would like to move on with reality as our guide, elected officials like Cooper and panic purveyors have gotten use to the leverage such embellished crises have afforded them, and they won’t give it up entirely.
Cooper has proven to follow the lead of the Far Left and much more progressive areas like New York City and the West Coast. Which is why we won’t hold our breath on Cooper EVER proactively lifting the mask mandate in certain situations.
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