As just about everybody knows at this point, there is no magic flick of a light switch to reopen our states and the economy. We’ve heard plenty of governors and medical professionals (including Dr. Anthony Fauci) use the dimmer switch analogy. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have said as much as themselves, albeit in different words. The point is if you pay attention to press conferences and what governors are saying there is not a lot of differences to the plans for reopening.
Our system of federalism provides unique tools to roll out the places that are ready to open and less so in the areas of the state and nation more stressed by the coronavirus. There are still seven counties in North Carolina with not a single positive test. Imagine, the potential public-health chaos of a top-down highly centralized plan, where Western North Carolina was treated with the same oversight as Manhattan?
For Gov. Roy Cooper, there is a prescient need to have a reopen plan in place that trusts localized leaders so people can get back to work quickly. A little over a hundred North Carolinians have filed for unemployment for one recorded verified case of coronavirus. Having personally known two people in our country who have been on a ventilator, it’s also more than reasonable to have compassion and relief for those out of work as well.
We hear some ideologues ranting and raving on social media that we must only listen to scientists. I’ve listened to a lot of different opinions from medical doctors and epidemiologists in interviews and podcasts as well. Mostly, when it comes to the important issue of reopening more of the economy, I’ve heard about plans related to mitigation over eradication. There is a broad understanding of the need for many to get back to work so they can provide for themselves and their families.
From a political perspective, it’s essential to point out that while there is a lot of agreement between the president’s comments and many governors, even those that politically oppose him, let’s hope that partisan politics doesn’t rule the day. There may be the temptation by some governors to continue lockdowns because they won’t take the hit for a cratering economy and citizens going destitute. They would rather the president take the blame and help their party. Pessimistic, I know, but we’ve all seen what politics has become over the last few decades. A slower rollout is inevitable. We all know rock concerts and packed stadiums aren’t suddenly going to happen right away, but allowing more localized control for reopening is needed. We need our governor to get us there. There are enough economic and health barriers we face as it is, we don’t need to add partisan politics to the mix when so many are suffering.