CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As hundreds gathered to protest North Carolina’s stay-at-home orders, North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis said there is a lot involved in making sure the process happens correctly, while keeping the public’s health and safety paramount.
He does think now is the time to start the conversation.
“We have not seen the peak of the curve," Tillis said today. “Certainly we have to see that downward trend of daily reported cases and then a few weeks later, the same trend in the number of deaths before we can safely say we’re beginning to contain the virus. And that’s where everybody in North Carolina plays a role.
“One of the concerns we could have about reopening is that could suggest to everyone that mitigation no longer needs to be practiced, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re going to need to be prepared to wear masks, social distance and those kinds of things because if we don’t it will put the opening of the economy further back. So, I think it’s more a matter of being very focused and judicious using the data to give us an idea of where the risk of the spread is reduced.”
Tillis, along with 49 other members of Congress, were appointed to a task force by President Trump earlier this week. The bi-partisan group will advise the president about what he calls, “Opening up America”.
Tillis says the most important role this task force has is to make sure we are ready. Really ready.
“We’ve got to face the reality that we’re going to be behind the eight ball when it comes to testing. We have the antibody testing coming online. We need to get those positioned nearest the areas that have the highest infection rates and be instructed by that.”
He believes the lack of widespread testing for COVID-19 means the process of getting the state, and the country, back to work, will take time.
The information gleaned from testing, Tillis believes, will help the federal government design the road map to reopening.
When asked about South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster allowing some businesses to reopen this week Tillis had this to say.
“The people of North Carolina need to understand they’re, (referring to South Carolina and Texas), not talking about reopening the way we were in February. They’re talking about a very systematic approach and they’re beginning the discussion.”
Tillis wants North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to work closely with counties and towns to come up with the right mix.
He added, “Public health always has to be the first priority. But economic health has to follow. The economic health of this nation is important ultimately to the physical health to this nation. We have to work on both tracks.”
The North Carolina Senator from Cornelius cautioned all of us to be prepared for what, he believes, will happen through the end of April and into May.
“The next couple of weeks this is a critical two weeks for North Carolina. We could see the peak of the curve and then we could see a genuine discussion, a robust discussion about getting our economy back in order.”