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Covid-19 Government Response Was the Real Disease Killing North Carolina

I have been independently studying the COVID-19 pandemic, since it first gained widespread attention.

North Carolina flag wrapped around state map, restrained by face mask, lock and chain -- image compiled by R. G. Kernodle

North Carolina flag wrapped around state map, restrained by face mask, lock and chain -- image compiled by R. G. Kernodle

North Carolina COVID-19 Timeline

Figure1. NC COVID-19 timeline, showing all government actions in relation to the COVID-19 case-growth curve, with key economically and socially destructive markers.Chart adapted and enhanced from the original source, by R. G. Kernodle.

Figure1. NC COVID-19 timeline, showing all government actions in relation to the COVID-19 case-growth curve, with key economically and socially destructive markers.Chart adapted and enhanced from the original source, by R. G. Kernodle.

Figure 1 shows a detailed list of North Carolina government actions in relation to the COVID-19 case-growth curve for the state. Key actions are highlighted in red and aqua.

The chart clearly shows that COVID-19 case growth continued at an ever accelerating pace, despite all government actions. The creators of the original version of this chart absurdly suggest that the tiny interval of curve flattening between April 10 and April 16 indicates the effectiveness of government actions prior to those dates.

Not only did that tiny interval of curve flattening give way to a prolonged upward rise in case numbers, but also it was completely obliterated by multiple, future accelerating growth spurts of the curve, despite all additional government actions. This seems plainly obvious, according to good reasoning.

Of particular note is the date of the statewide face mask mandate, after which the steepest ever growth in cases occurred. Let me clarify: For six months after (and during which) the statewide face mask mandate was in effect, COVID-19 cases grew at an ever accelerating pace.

Is this any indication that face masks are effective? The rational answer is, "No."

North Carolina Weekly Unemployment Claims -- One-Year and Ten-Year Views

Figure 2. One-year view of North Carolina weekly unemployment claims with key economically and socially destructive government actions highlighted. Adapted by R. G. Kernodle from original source.

Figure 2. One-year view of North Carolina weekly unemployment claims with key economically and socially destructive government actions highlighted. Adapted by R. G. Kernodle from original source.

Figure 3. Ten-year view of North Carolina weekly unemployment claims with key economically and socially destructive government actions highlighted. Adapted by R. G. Kernodle from original source.

Figure 3. Ten-year view of North Carolina weekly unemployment claims with key economically and socially destructive government actions highlighted. Adapted by R. G. Kernodle from original source.

Figure 2 and Figure 3 (above) illustrate the incredibly abrupt rise in North Carolina's unemployment claims, within the incredibly short interval during which only the first four government actions took place, namely (1) school closures, (2) bar/restaurant closures, (3) a stay-at-home order, and (4) another round of closures.

These four actions occurred in an interval of less than one month, and these four actions resulted in continuing unemployment claims eventually rising to twenty-eight times higher than before the actions took place (Figure 2). Let me repeat that: In less than one month, four government actions were followed by continuing unemployment claims skyrocketing to twenty-eight times higher than before. Twenty-eight times higher!

Figure 3 shows that this unemployment rate was four times higher than at any time during the previous ten years. To rephrase, four government actions in less than one month drove continuing unemployment claims to a level four times higher than at any time during the previous ten years.

Did a health crisis of sufficient severity exist that justified this level of historic economic ruin? The following two illustrations (Figure 4 and Figure 5) answer this question with a resounding "No."

United States Death Rate from 1900 to 2020

Figure 4. Graph of United States death rate from 1900 to 2020, adapted from original source by R. G. Kernodle

Figure 4. Graph of United States death rate from 1900 to 2020, adapted from original source by R. G. Kernodle

Figure 4 shows that a death crisis did not exist in the United States during the time of the so called COVID-19 pandemic. The upper bound of death projections in 2020 from all causes (including deaths attributed to COVID-19) was slightly less than the number of deaths from all causes in 2003.

After 2003 (between 2003-2020), the death rate steadily declined slightly for the next seventeen years prior to 2020. The small upward rise during 2020, relative to those previous seventeen years of lower rates, created the perception of a higher death rate in 2020.

This perception of a higher death rate in 2020 rests on a very shortsighted point of view. The fact is that death rates nationally have not been extraordinarily higher. Death rates have not warranted excessive government actions that states have taken in response to an alleged COVID-19 pandemic.

North Carolina Death Rate from 2017-2020

Figure 5. Graph of North Carolina all-cause death rate from 2017 to 2020, adapted by R. G. Kernodle from original source.

Figure 5. Graph of North Carolina all-cause death rate from 2017 to 2020, adapted by R. G. Kernodle from original source.

Figure 5 shows that North Carolina's death rate in 2020 also was not extraordinary.

Notice the 2018 peak of excess death (red dotted line) and the 2019 peak of excess death (green dotted line). Now look at the year 2020, where the red plus signs indicate weeks of excess deaths above a predetermined threshold -- all those red plus signs are at or below peak excess deaths for both 2018 and 2019. And the most recent figure for 2020 on that graph shows excess deaths far below any of the previous three years.

Where was the crisis? Answer: a death crisis did not exist in North Carolina in the year 2020. Again, the government's responding as though a grave crisis did exist was uninformed, ill conceived, misguided, excessively destructive, and unjust. Consequently, something other than rational thinking was guiding North Carolina's government response to COVID-19.

Before I wrote this article and published it on February 7, 2020, I consulted the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website to make certain that the North Carolina graph in Figure 5 (above) was based on the most recent tabulation of data. I did this multiple times, before I adapted the graph and added additional notes to it. The appearance of CDC's graph remained stable for numerous months prior to my using it as a reference.

Three days after my article was published, I consulted the relevant CDC website again, only to find that the appearance of the graph was now altered. Below, in Figure 5a, I have made a second adaptation of the CDC graph as it then appeared:

CDC Graph Changed Appearances

Figure 5a. Graph of North Carolina all-cause death rate from 2017 to 2020,  based on a later appearance of a CDC graph, adapted from the original source by R. G. Kernodle

Figure 5a. Graph of North Carolina all-cause death rate from 2017 to 2020, based on a later appearance of a CDC graph, adapted from the original source by R. G. Kernodle

Notice:

  • The last date labeled on both graphs (Figure 5 and Figure 5a) is September 1, 2020.
  • The week of excess death in 2017 (red plus sign) is absent.
  • One of the weeks of excess death in 2018 (red plus sign) is absent.
  • The week of excess death in 2019 (red plus sign) is absent.
  • The number of weeks of excess death (red plus signs) appearing in 2020 changed from 7 in the first version of the graph to 24 in the later version of the graph.

These alterations raise questions:

  1. Why is data from four years, three years, two years prior being adjusted?
  2. Is the CDC adjusting the data?
  3. Is North Carolina's reporting process causing the data adjustments?
  4. How is it acceptable that death rates from up to four years prior are still being adjusted?

CDC Graph Appearance Changed a Second Time

Shortly after I compiled my adaptation of the later version of CDC's North Carolina graph (Figure 5a), I consulted the CDC website again, only to find that the graph had changed appearances a second time, in the course of just a few days. As a result, I compiled yet a third version, which is displayed below as Figure 5b:

Figure 5b. Graph of North Carolina all-cause death rate from 2017 to 2020,  based on a second later appearance of a CDC graph, adapted from the original source by R. G. Kernodle.

Figure 5b. Graph of North Carolina all-cause death rate from 2017 to 2020, based on a second later appearance of a CDC graph, adapted from the original source by R. G. Kernodle.

Now notice:

  • The last date labeled on this version of the graph is January 1, 2021, which is visually misleading, because the last actual point for which data appears is October 31, 2020.
  • In this version, the 24 weeks of excess deaths in 2020 appear to extend over a longer span than in the first altered appearance of the graph.
  • Particular weeks of excess deaths in 2017, 2018, and 2019 are still absent, as they were originally indicated in the very first version of this graph.

This again raises the same questions as the first later appearance of CDC's North Carolina graph.

Those questions aside, either version of the graph fails to demonstrate a death crisis in North Carolina of a magnitude that justified the excessive measures taken by North Carolina's governor, whose actions have cast the state into educational, social and economic ruin.

Neither of the questionable, alternate appearances of CDC's North Carolina graph, therefore, changes my conclusion.

There has never been a death crisis in the United States or, specifically, in North Carolina (or in any other state) that required the obvious economic and social devastation that government actions have caused.

Look at Figure 5b again:

  • Notice that the number of excess deaths are not excessively high.
  • Notice the last five weeks on the graph (from the week of October 3 to the week of October 31, 2020), where the number of excess deaths not only is 0.0, as the CDC reports it, but also is well below the threshold of excess deaths.

This is not a death crisis characteristic of a true emergency.

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