April 19, 2020

North Carolina needs a plan to begin to reopen its economy. 

For some reason, Governor Cooper’s team has not unveiled a plan that at least gives people hope for relief. This is not an unreasonable request.

One of the initial primary concerns of the pandemic and the cause for the “shelter in place” edict was the fear that waves of virus victims would overwhelm our hospitals and our healthcare system would collapse and be overwhelmed.  It appears that has not happened.  Reports are that there are around 400 beds with COVID-19 patients in the state.  The hospitals are not overwhelmed.

Meanwhile our economy is headed for the rocks.  Small businesses can’t last much longer. Families are worried about where the next dollar comes from. Others are worried if they’ll be able to keep their jobs.

North Carolina’s economy was roaring before COVID-19 struck. We had an amazing record of success with major reforms over the last 10 years producing the best economy in NC history. We need a plan now to try to salvage what’s left of a decade of progress and prosperity.

It’s time to move forward.  Even though there are areas of the state where the virus still seems to be running rampant – like dense metro areas, nursing homes and prisons – – in other areas of the state, COVID-19 has barely scratched the surface.

If we are able to arrive at some sort of step-based reopening, it would appear at least those areas could have a pathway back to normal life. 

Our two metro counties where so much of the infections occur are part of a story that makes little sense.  The population of Wake County and Mecklenburg County are virtually identical.  However, as of April 18, according to the CDC, in Wake County there have been 566 cases and 3 deaths.  In Mecklenburg County there have been 1134 cases and 21 deaths.

Twice the cases and many more deaths.  That makes Mecklenburg County a hotspot where a lot of “Why?s” need to be answered.  For some reason, it has become the New York state of North Carolina.

Though COVID-19 tragedies have occurred in pockets elsewhere in the state, most other areas – especially in rural counties – have not registered the numbers of infections originally feared.

That’s why we respectfully call on the Governor for a reopening plan that makes sense.  Just like our disaster teams address a hurricane or wildfires – with a plan we can hit the hotspots with everything we’ve got while working to get the businesses and people of North Carolina who’ve suffered little impact get back to normal life as swiftly as possible.