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The NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending April 26, plus a note about reopening metrics

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending April 26:

  • As of April 26, there were 924,490 North Carolinians presumed to be recovered from COVID-19
  • Active cases comprised just 2.7% of NC’s total case count (note: a case of COVID isn’t a permanent infection, and only someone with an active case of the virus can conceivably transmit it to you)
  • Active cases represented just over 0.2% (two-tenths of one percent) of NC’s population (note: active cases are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths)
  • Meanwhile, 24 out of every 25 (96.0%) of NC’s total cases were recovered, meaning they are no longer infectious
  • Only about 0.1% of people in NC had died with COVID-19 (regardless of the actual cause of death)
  • Meanwhile, 91.0% people in NC had never had a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, despite the PCR test cycle threshold set so high as to produce a large amount of false positives(note: this proportion will always decline, but we have been living with this virus since February 2020, as far as testing is concerned)
  • All things considered, about 99.8% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone — a virus most had never had and the rest had recovered from (note: this proportion will fluctuate based on relative growth in lab-confirmed cases vs. recoveries, and it is likely understand because it does not account for vaccinations)

It’s been over a year. It’s well, well, well past time for the governor to end this open-ended “emergency” rule.

Note: Cooper is not a victim of circumstance — he is not forced to withhold reopening by “metrics” of his own making

On April 21, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that he “expects to lift mandatory social distancing, capacity, and mass gathering restrictions by June 1” and gave new metrics for supposedly reopening: “The state anticipates lifting the mask mandate and easing other public health recommendations, once two-thirds of adult North Carolinians have received at least one vaccine dose and if trends remain stable.”

Those are not conditions upon which to end an emergency declaration. The governor is not bound by those metrics; he’s making them up. So the people of North Carolina should not be bound by those metrics. They are arbitrary and capricious measures, as were all of Cooper’s previously abandoned standards, as his actions proved. A responsible media would press him hard on this point, but our media won’t.

Having a two-thirds vaccination rate and “stable” “trends” are Cooper’s formulations only. There is no reason, none, to treat these metrics as if they are written in stone. Put another way: Cooper, the media, and others need to stop pretending that “reopening metrics” the governor made up on the fly are somehow forcing him not to reopen the state.

There’s nothing that prevents Cooper from lifting all executive orders and allowing people to rebuild the economy in all the various unseen and unimaginable ways that they would do it. They would be ways that no one, not the wisest economist, certainly not some witless central planner, could ever direct, dictate, anticipate, or comprehend.

The point is, at any time Cooper could lift his executive orders. He could do so today. As he should.

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...