John Locke Update / Research Brief

Tell Gov. Cooper: Facts and data support getting out, talking with people, and being neighborly again

posted on in Civil Society, COVID-19 Series, Economic Growth & Development, Economics, Human Flourishing, Law & Regulation, Rights & Regulation
Featured Image
Raleigh’s historic Rialto Theatre on Sept. 14, 2020. All NC theaters have been closed by Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders since March 30, 2020, with no end in sight. (Photo: JPS)

“Wear The Mask! Your mask keeps me safe, and my mask keeps you safe,” said the display a local gasoline station.

Businesses have to do what they can to survive, and I suppose if it promotes good will and public spirit and keeps their doors open and paying their employees, all the better. But it’s still nonsense.

Read on to see why 99.83% of people in NC pose no threat to you whatsoever of transmitting COVID-19.

The nonsense has been deliberately fostered by, among others, the Cooper administration, national and local media, and celebrity culture. It’s fed a popular misconception that the biggest threat to you is another fellow citizen who looks and feels perfectly healthy and isn’t wearing a mask. [Read these links on the science about wearing face masks and about the lack of transmission risk from people showing no symptoms.]

Supposedly, it works like this: When people first contract COVID-19, they don’t have symptoms like fever and coughing, but their silent virus is somehow super infectious at that stage, unlike with other previously known viruses. So someone who feels great and doesn’t have any sign of the virus (“asymptomatic”) could be fine — or he could be a walking plague monster turning every venue into a potential “super-spreader” event. You could be. People actually believe that stuff, and it terrifies them.

Starving our very humanity

This fear has created a horrible civic culture. We are suspicious of each other, afraid to interact with friends, neighbors, church members, locals at the grocery store or restaurant, even family. We’re depriving our children of teachers, playtime, even friendships. We’re letting the governor suffocate untold numbers of small business owners and employees of their livelihoods. And it’s making people depressed, anxious, prone to substance abuse, and increasingly suicidal.

Two recent anecdotes typify this present insanity. Last week Gov. Cooper and state health Sec. Mandy Cohen, an unelected bureaucrat with no accountability to voters, decided to deprive the parents of college football players of the ability to attend their games last weekend. UNC-Chapel Hill, playing host to Syracuse, was forbidden from having more than 25 people at Kenan Memorial Stadium, a stadium with a capacity of 50,500.

To stress the obvious: it’s an outdoor stadium. There’s no science to this petty, mean order — just the whim of an unchecked autocrat.

So the governor would allow only one person for every ___ seats? The answer is 2020. Yep.

Meanwhile, a local government reporter recently shared a hysterical article in The Atlantic called “Mask Up and Shut Up” and subtitled “COVID-19 transmission would go down if we spoke less, or less loudly, in public spaces. Why aren’t more people saying so?”

In so doing, he wrote, “If you’re engaging in small talk with store clerks right now, stop.” Imagine.

How about this: If you’re engaging in small talk with store clerks right now, God bless you. First for helping them feed their families, and second for treating them as fellow human beings and not faceless disease vectors.

People all across NC are walking around virus-free

I don’t think people have any idea how very few people in North Carolina on any particular day pose a risk to them, however small, of passing along the virus. The only people who can do it are the ones with active cases. As of Monday, Sept. 14, there were 15,464 active cases, and it was down from 18,288 last week.

The population of the entire state of North Carolina is over 10.63 million.

What, you heard there were 185,781 cases in North Carolina? Except for government and media tallies, those aren’t cases in perpetuity. Most of those cases have recovered — 167,257 presumed recoveries, in fact.

As of Monday, 90% of COVID-19 patients had recovered. Nine out of 10 cases are not active. Someone who has recovered from the virus is no longer infectious.

You know who else isn’t infectious? People who have never had the virus. And in North Carolina, 98.22% of people have never had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Think about that: 98.22% of folks you’d sit next to at a bar, watch a movie with, or stand next to in line to vote have never even had the virus.

Now, when you factor in that 90% of the remaining 1.8% have recovered, here’s what that means: 99.83% of people in NC pose no threat to you whatsoever of transmitting the virus.

Get out.

Be convivial and human again.

It’s vital.

Oh, and see if you can persuade our power-mad governor to lift his restrictions against people and businesses. His senseless orders are posing an increasing threat to the mental and physical health of North Carolinians, in addition to the economic harms he’s unleashed. This, too, would be vital.

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As Director of Regulatory Studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jon gets into the weeds in all kinds of policy areas, including electricity, occupational licensing, hydraulic… ...

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