On Tuesday, hundreds of protesters gathered in Raleigh to protest the stay-at-home order, claiming that the mandated closure of many businesses was causing unnecessary harm to the economy. On the same day, it was declared that the virus is the leading cause of death in the nation.
Public health experts agree that physical distancing is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When restrictions are eventually eased, it is nearly certain that there will be a spike in cases, so they must only be eased once a series of measures are in place, including widespread testing and contact tracing for positive cases, increased health care capacity including workforce and beds, ample personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks and ventilators, and ideally a safe and proven treatment or vaccine.
When COVID-19 cases began appearing in North Carolina in early March, data models predicted that the pandemic would peak in the state in late April. Since then, the updated state-wide models have shown that if physical distancing continues beyond April, the peak will shift to mid-to-late-May, evidence that physical distancing is working. The peak will continue to shift in this way until restrictions are eased. This is why it’s so important for us to “buy time” to ensure that every corner of our state and nation is fully prepared, because there will be more cases and more deaths.
COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our state and nation in recent months, particularly among communities of color, which have experienced disproportionate rates of illness and death as a result of the virus. In addition, individuals and families are facing numerous challenges including unstable housing, food insecurity, interpersonal violence, anxiety and depression, and difficulty making ends meet. The hardships to individuals and families brought on by COVID-19 are real.
Despite these serious challenges, reopening businesses would only create more hardship. Read more