Yes, Gov. Roy Cooper promised to reopen elementary schools soon, sort of, last week. But my Research Brief today points out that we missed the bigger news:

The fact of the matter is, Gov. Roy Cooper has shifted the goalposts on beleaguered North Carolinians yet again.

Once again, having met the very standards the governor set, North Carolina should be open and back to business. Full stop.

But once again we’re not, despite satisfying another gubernatorial requirement for reopening. This is “we’ve flattened the curve” without reopening all over again. This is “Stabilizing trends are good” without ever moving to full Phase 2 all over again.

I point out Cooper’s supposed “metrics” for reopening. Here they are from his Sept. 1 press conference:

Here are those metrics now. Look at those trends. Then ask why we’re not reopening.

Trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases

This chart is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker, as of Sept. 20:

That’s a solid, prolonged and increasingly downward trend.

Trajectory of cases

This chart uses data from the state Department of Health and Human Services’ daily COVID-19 reporting, as do the charts that follow.

The prolonged downward trend is unmistakeable.

Trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests

This one also shows a prolonged, solid downward decline for months. See the brief for the greater import of this particular decline.

Trajectory of hospitalizations

Again, the prolonged downward trend is unmistakeable.