NC Lt. Gov. Dan Forest speaking at an event in May 2017. (Photo via lieutenant governor's office). Dan Forest
NC Lt. Gov. Dan Forest speaking at an event in May 2017. (Photo via lieutenant governor's office).

NC’s lieutenant governor is “desperately” trying to make himself relevant during the pandemic.

(Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on NC Policy Watch’s Progressive Pulse blog.)

This is not a post about any future election. It’s about what North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is doing right now to undermine the vital public health and safety work being done by the government in which he serves.

Last Friday, Forest tweeted out a March 18 Bloomberg article which was entitled “99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says.” He then offered the following comment to accompany it:

As multiple commenters have since pointed out, Forest’s tweet makes no sense whatsoever. It’s also utterly irresponsible.

First of all, the Bloomberg article is six weeks old. Second of all, so what if most of the people dying from COVID-19 had other health conditions?

Since that time, tens of thousands of Italians have died, and that was with the massive shutdown that was imposed on Italian society.

In additional tweets, Forest went on to attack Gov. Cooper and claim that he should have put forth “a plan that protects the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, while letting the majority of our citizens safely get back to work.”

Earth to Lt. Gov. Forest: Listen to the scientists. It doesn’t work that way. The virus is killing large numbers of “healthy” people and causing unknown damage to many more. What’s more, millions of people have health problems and pre-existing conditions (you know — the people to whom you’ve been trying to deny healthcare by opposing the Affordable Care Act).

How would you segregate them? People in nursing homes are dying at a frightening rate already.

Experts and true public servants like doctors Anthony Fauci and Mandy Cohen aren’t doing this because it’s fun. Everyone wants society to open up as soon as possible, including them.

They’re telling us to stay home because it’s a life or death matter — not just for millions of people — but for our economy as well. If you think things are bad in the economy now, just imagine what it would be like if responsible action hadn’t been taken and the virus had spread here and throughout the country like it did in the worst hot spots like New York City.

The bottom line: It’s perhaps understandable (from a political perspective) that the Lt. Governor, one of the state’s least relevant public officials with the fewest official duties, is desperately trying to make himself relevant in the current crisis, but if this is the best he can do, we’d all be better off if he stayed home, drew the shades and locked the doors.