• 30°

Editorial: With worsening virus, state avoids return to shutdowns

The calculations are different this time around.

Even as COVID-19 has produced new records locally and across North Carolina, there has not been a return to the stay-at-home order from spring 2020, which was intended to help limit the spread of a virus that was still brand new and limit the strain on hospitals.

There have been 28 Rowan County deaths from COVID-19 in 2021 and a record for the most in a single day. The county also has seen records for positives reported in a single day and an higher-than-ever use on hospital resources. The fact that nearly all of the state’s counties fall in the “critical” category for community spread means North Carolina has reached previously unseen levels of the pandemic.

Last year, North Carolinians were reading and watching news about field hospitals being set up in New York City, but western N.C. is now home to such a facility. The 3-bed field hospital, in Lenoir, was erected by nonprofit Samaritans Purse because of a recent surge in cases.

Recent restrictions, meanwhile, have not been as wide-ranging as those that came before. Changes instead have been targeted at halting late-night gatherings, strengthening rules around mask-wearing requirements and other accountability measures. Even as Gov. Roy Cooper on Jan. 6 noted that the state was setting grim records and N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said the state was “in a very dangerous position,” the current restrictions were extended through Jan. 29.

So why no return to old restrictions?

Perhaps it’s a recognition that it’s most important for people to abide by current recommendations and that too many are not doing so now. Or maybe it’s a prediction that folks would ignore a return to old rules if they didn’t also see the situation as dire.

Vaccines are rolling out, and surely Cooper sees that as a reason to avoid too-harsh restrictions. But the reality is that most folks cannot receive the vaccine yet, either because of supply or that the state remains in its earliest phases. A tiny portion of the state has received the first dose — roughly 190,000 of the state’s 10.48 million residents — and an even smaller portion has received both doses — 28,978. In terms of viral spread, they should remain a non-factor when considering any new restrictions.

Whatever Cooper’s calculation, he’s right to avoid a return to stay-at-home orders unless health concerns necessitate it. Shutdowns last year proved to be most harmful to those in service jobs, which pay lower wages than white-collar professionals. A too-soon return to shutdowns would hurt those who are still trying to get back on their feet.

Comments

Local

Human Relations Council starts day of service, adopts park as part of MLK celebration

Local

Hickory volunteers donate backpacks filled with essential items, sleeping mats to Salisbury VA

Local

City to hear priorities for 2021 Federal Action Plan, approve use of $200,000 HUD grant

Crime

Blotter: Woman faces drug, child abuse charges

Coronavirus

County averaging 118 new COVID-19 cases per day in 2021

News

Political Notebook: Rep. Sasser to chair NC House Health committee in second term

Ask Us

Ask Us: COVID-19 vaccination events have required adaptations, brought frustration

Local

38th Winter Flight Run moves to Mt. Ulla

Local

Cherry, Duren honored during all-virtual MLK celebration

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man charged with statutory rape

Nation/World

Heavy fortified statehouses around the US see small protests

Local

Human Relations Council honors Martin Luther King Jr. with modified fair

Local

Local lawmakers talk priorities for 2020-21 legislative session

Business

From a home office to a global company, Integro Technologies celebrates 20th anniversary

Lifestyle

‘Quarantine Diaries’ — Jeanie Moore publishes book as ‘foundation of stories for my family’

Business

‘It pays for itself:’ Study shows economic impact of Mid-Carolina Regional Airport

News

Gov. Cooper sending another 100 National Guard members to Washington

Local

Rowan County set rainfall record in 2020

News

Former, current congressmen for Rowan County opposed second impeachment

Business

Biz Roundup: Chamber prepares for January Power in Partnership program

Education

Essie Mae holding COVID-19 testing Monday, recognizes honor Roll

Local

County will have hearing on new ordinance about feeding large animal carcasses to domestic animals

Business

Complaints to BBB up 36% in 2020

Nation/World

Some in GOP talk of chance for coming civil war