RALEIGH – Dr. Mandy Cohen, the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been focused on one particular metric when it comes to the coronavirus for several weeks now. That metric is the ‘Positivity Rate’ of coronavirus tests, the percent of persons tested that get a positive result, and the Cooper regime has repeatedly stated that they need to see that fall in order to consider further reopening.
It wasn’t enough that deaths fell precipitously; or, that hospitalizations are also sinking and in no danger of overwhelming healthcare systems. No, the coast wasn’t considered to be clearing up unless at least 95 percent of people getting tested for the virus were testing negative.
Well, now it’s happened. North Carolina has hit that completely arbitrary 5 percent positivity rate. Great! Can we open now?
That is what bar owners want to know, and anyone else whose business is still closed by mandate, hours reduced by decree, or schools closed by command.
The N.C. Bar and Tavern Association (NCBATA) is eager to know. In a press release, NCBATA said they have health guidance ready to go so bars can reopen safely now that the positivity rate has dropped below the magic number:
“As the state’s COVID-19 rate drops dramatically, the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association is releasing its guidelines to help private bars reopen safely when Gov. Roy Cooper grants permission. North Carolina is one of only seven states where private bars are still closed.
Cooper has told bar owners they could return to business once the numbers look better and that is happening. The percent of positive tests dropped to 5 percent this week after averaging about 7 percent over the summer.”
We hope that such a decision can be made, and quickly, for the sake of these business owners and their families. However, our experience over the last six months doesn’t give one confidence in Governor Cooper relenting.
In fact, every time improvements are acknowledged by Cooper and Cohen, the first and loudest message is that the improvement is cause to double-down, not let up. With that logic, a near extermination of this virus would only further justify continued lockdown measures.
It is anyone’s guess why Cooper still has private bars closed. It makes zero sense, considering nearly identical businesses, that are merely classified differently, have been open and operating for weeks and months. Those businesses haven’t had any massive viral super-spreading events.
Actually, a story out of Nashville, Tennessee may tell us more about the thought process behind these arbitrary authoritarians. The mayor and others there got exposed when their emails were leaked; emails in which they literally stifle data about viral transmission linked to bars in the city because the number is TOO LOW and they DON’T WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW HOW LOW IT IS. Seriously.
Is Cooper playing similar games with North Carolinians?