Most Americans are well aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has become a major political battle as well as a health crisis. In the US, President Donald Trump has pushed for the reopening of America's economy, acknowledging the damage that the pandemic and the resulting closures of businesses has certainly done and following the idea that "the cure is worse than the disease."
The nation's top epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and others in the medical community have warned that attempting to reopen too soon could have disastrous results, possibly triggering a second wave of the disease that may be more severe than the first.
The political battle is also international. The COVID-19 pandemic originated in China. The Chinese government took drastic actions to prevent its spread, and likely also understated the severity including the death toll in that country. Just like the US, the political leaders in China claim their response was correct and timely.
The question about how well China handled the beginning of the pandemic is significant. Two US states, Missouri and Mississippi, are suing China over damages from the pandemic, and multiple US citizens have filed class-action lawsuits alleging China covered up the scope of the initial outbreak in Wuhan.
The question about how well China handled the pandemic and about their possible cover-up has become an issue in the US Presidential and other elections set for November. TV commercials supporting President Trump are attempting to link Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, to China. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis has introduced legislation seeking to hold China accountable for inaction, cover-up, and corruption related to the pandemic. A part of the campaign is a bumper sticker proclaiming: “China Lied, Make Them Pay” being sold as a fundraiser.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is the subject of multiple Facebook posts calling him everything from an 'idiot' to a 'dictator' because of his executive orders that established restrictions on businesses, closed schools, etc. His GOP opponent, Dan Forest, has made reopening the state's businesses the central issue of his campaign.
The division has become marked enough locally that you can almost tell the political affiliation of shoppers at area stores: most Republicans are NOT wearing facial coverings, many of them have said openly that it's a political statement against Cooper and the restrictions.
During the 1918 Flu Pandemic that was still to date the most deadly epidemic in American history, people also resisted wearing masks. The website history.com tells the story. CLICK HERE to read it.
Like 1918, history will tell the story. If Trump and the governors of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina are correct and we've passed the point where the restrictions are necessary, the transition back to what some have called the 'new normal' will go well. If Dr. Fauci is correct, we may see a big increase in cases in some places.
Meanwhile, here are the latest official figures from the pandemic:
Lincoln County's number of active cases is now 12. Two new cases bring the total so far to 46, but 34 of those have recovered. Out of 959 tests, 909 have been negative. There are four people still awaiting the results of their tests. Lincoln County still hasn't recorded a fatality linked to the disease.
Catawba County has now had 95 positive tests; 50 of those have recovered and 43 are still active cases. Five of those are hospitalized. The county has had two deaths.
Gaston County currently has 32 active cases. 171 people there have recovered from the disease; the county has had six deaths.
Cleveland County has had 54 positive tests and two fatalities.
Mecklenburg County has now had 2439 positive tests--but no new fatalities in the last five days; a total of 63 people have died from the disease there.
North Carolina's death toll is now 641. The state has reported 17,129 positive cases.
In South Carolina, where restaurants have returned to in-house service and other businesses that were closed have now reopened after the restrictions were relaxed, 232 new cases were reported along with nine more deaths, bringing that state's total to 8,407 positive tests and 380 deaths.
The US death toll increased by 1562 Friday, bringing the total to 88,474.
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