Whatís Your Plan?
It was bound to occur. In truth, it was surprising that resistance to the restrictions put in place to combat COVID-19 didn't surface sooner, but now they are organized, becoming louder and more heated.
One group of resisters say these restrictions violate their civil liberties and their 1st Amendment rights to "peacefully assemble." They lambast Governor Cooper for his "draconian, communistic government move." They probably resist authority at many levels but curiously, drive on the right-hand side of the road, stop at red lights and accept any number of other rules and regulations imposed upon them. They claim there is no data proving what we are doing is reducing the number of cases, however, neither can they provide any proving it isn't.
Then there's the politically motivated group. They are Democrats who don't like anything Donald Trump does or Republicans equally opposed to anything our Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper does. However, polls show that Cooper is getting good marks (and not just from Democrats) for the job he is doing in managing this pandemic in our state.
A third group is neither motivated by constitutional nor political issues. They are concerned about our economy and the great damage being done, saying our state cannot endure these current restrictions much longer before a recession turns into a depression. Most of us have suffered some economic consequences, they are painful and we want the pain to stop. Would throwing open the doors right now result in larger numbers of infections and deaths? Which pain would be worse? Columnist Gary Pearce posed the discussion another way, asking what's more important, our life or our livelihood?
There are two questions that need answering. The first is who do you trust making these decisions? This is a healthcare crisis and since most of us are neither scientists nor healthcare experts, I suggest listening to those who are, and there seems to be a consensus among them. North Carolina is blessed to have Dr. Mandy Cohen heading our Department of Health and Human Services. Her team is actively consulting with and listening to experts in our state, other states and throughout the world, gathering data and tracking infection trends, hospital requirements, death rates and how COVID-19 is playing out among populations. She's a good communicator, scientist, and practitioner who is truly concerned for our state's entire populous.
The second question is what's your plan? The most commonsense plan I've heard comes from 3rd District Congressman Greg Murphy, who is also a medical doctor. Murphy says before going farther we need more testing. When we have sufficient data to justify relaxing restrictions, we might begin by opening restaurants, requiring them to have large spaces between tables and making all their employees wear masks and gloves. We could also open some other establishments, also requiring masks and gloves of their employees. This will ease us back into opening up our economy, not just going full throttle wide open.
If these first steps don't result in large numbers of new cases we can take further steps, evaluating results each time we do so. Murphy envisions this staged plan might require months, perhaps even a year or more, to return to a new normal. And it will be a long time before our lives resemble those prior to COVID-19.
Again, don't like his plan, what's yours?
Publisher's note: Tom Campbell is former assistant North Carolina State Treasurer and is creator/host of NC SPIN
, a weekly statewide television discussion of NC issues that airs on UNC-TV main channel Fridays at 7:30pm, Sundays 12:30pm and UNC North Carolina Channel Fridays at 10:00pm, Saturdays at 4:00pm and Sundays at 10:00am
. Contact Tom at NC Spin.