Commentary, COVID-19

NC lawmakers need to stop pretending to be public health experts

What’s next — a bill from the General Assembly directing physicians how to conduct heart procedures? A new law that micromanages airplane safety inspections?

Come to think of it, the meddlers on Jones Street have long since tried to head down similar roads with their repeated efforts to tell physicians how they should provide reproductive health care to women and how scientists should study and report on the climate crisis (and ignore sea-level rise). So it comes as little surprise that some of the honorables have now determined that they should be the “deciders” when it comes to fundamental public health questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you’ve probably heard by now, legislative leaders have been doing their best to further endanger public health and safety by trying to force the reopening of bars and gyms. Now, apparently, they may even try to tell hospitals what do when it comes to allowing visitors.

Earth to the Republicans running the General Assembly: The pandemic in North Carolina is still peaking. The rush to reopen (however much all of us might wish it were possible) is a recipe for illness and death.

Scientists now report that safety orders of the kind Gov. Cooper and his health team have implemented have prevented 60 million additional infections in this country — 60 MILLION! If you think the economy is struggling now, just imagine the chaos that those numbers would have brought on.

As a recent lead editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal put it in endorsing Cooper’s sober refusal to cave in to President Trump’s bullying over the GOP convention:

Cooper is right not to cave. He is leading our state in a gradual reopening, trying to find the right balance. The economy is struggling. Businesses have been closed and people out of work. We’re all weary of being careful and missing out on activities and associations we normally enjoy.

But the threat from this deadly virus is real, and as we said yesterday, it’s not over. There is so much we don’t know — including what will happen as we relax our guard.

In short, the focus should remain on saving lives.


  1. Ken

    June 10, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Cooper is a moron. And the person that wrote this is also one. You do not have the right to starve these business owner!! I don’t know if you understand simple economics, but if small businesses aren’t allowed to open who in the hell is going to pay taxes to keep this worthless governor in his pay check and pay for his health care. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Democrats just think they can continue to print money. These people have families and employees to support. Why don’t you open up your house or cooper open up his and start paying for these families he is breaking. You will allow a 1000 people to attend protests or a memorial for a man of color but you won’t let 15 people in a gym or bar. Think you got it all wrong.

  2. Clay

    June 11, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    Cooper is great. People and businesses do not have the right to endanger others. The small business owner can get a job elsewhere until their business is allowed to open. Repubs are the big spenders but foolishly on tax giveaways to the rich and corporations, walls, etc. And what party doesn’t pay their convention bills and security? Republican of course. How many bankruptcies has a certain Repub leader had spending more than can he could afford in the past and currently massive spending on trips, golfing, parades, his crazy wall, etc. States don’t print money but Repubs are famous for printing money and with lower taxes it’s a requirement. Why don’t Repubs like Trump open up his hotels for the homeless and others? My wife and I retired at 56 without tax giveaways, why can’t you Repubs save a dime and learn to support yourselves?

    We support outdoor exercise, why must you be in a room or building? Maybe you’re not smart enough to think outside the box? Same with bars, drink at home or outdoors. If you’re that lonely by yourself or with your family seek help for your issues. Cooper is smart, has it right, and is smart to keep us safe from people with little or no common sense.

  3. INTJ

    June 20, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Cooper, who repeatedly violates the Public Records Act, has not yet shared any of the “data, science, and facts” he is using to make decisions. He refuses tosay who even is on the team advising him.

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