Georgia’s largest newspaper released an editorial Monday saying the state’s Governor Brian Kemp is risking a resurgence of the novel coronavirus by reopening the state.
“We all look forward to the day we can put this pandemic behind us, but given Georgia’s performance so far, Gov. Brian Kemp is moving too soon and confusing citizens. He is risking a resurgence of the coronavirus in our state,” the editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated.
Kemp announced Monday that the state can begin reopening businesses by Friday, citing guidelines crafted by members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and other public health officials.
“Informed by the Coronavirus Task Force and public health officials, opening up America again includes three phases to safely reopen and get folks back to work,” Kemp said during a coronavirus press briefing.
“To initiate phase one, a state must meet a series of basic criteria which can be tailored to reflect specific circumstances for a region or a statewide approach. For weeks now, our state has taken targeted action to prevent, detect and address the spread of coronavirus by leveraging data and advice from health officials in the public and private sectors. Thanks to this methodical approach…we are on track to meet the gating criteria for phase one,” the Georgia governor said. He also announced that the state will “double-down” on its testing capacity.
The journalists at the AJC stated that it is “crucial” for the governor to “tend to” goals instead of dates.
“The coronavirus isn’t following the calendar. The state’s plan should be built around infection rates, testing data and ongoing plans to monitor new cases. Arbitrary dates aren’t helpful and could create false hope or a temptation to abandon practices that are working,” the editorial stated. They also feel the state’s testing should be improved.
The editorial board stated that Georgia “has many more cases than we know about because only a small fraction of us have been tested. In fact, only those with the strongest symptoms qualified for testing until recently.”
“Let’s also remember the state’s weak data gathering. For example, until last week, the state only attributed death to COVID-19 when diagnoses were confirmed by laboratory tests. By omitting symptomatic people who died before they could be tested, the state understated the problem and lacks a true picture of the pandemic,” the editorial board stated.
Georgia has 19,398 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 774 deaths as of Monday evening, according to the state’s Department of Public Health COVID-19 daily status report. The report also states that there are only 3,702 people hospitalized who have tested positive.