Even President Trump has criticized Georgia (Republican) Governor Brian Kemp for starting to reopen his state’s economy too fast. So now that Georgia’s loosening of CCP Virus-related restrictions, which began on April 24, is now more than two weeks old, its deaths and new cases are skyrocketing, right?
Well, as that old Hertz car rental ad went, “Not exactly.” In fact, not at all. And since Georgia (along with much less populous Oklahoma) was “first in the nation” in this regard, its real experience is worth more than a casual perusal. (A handful of states never approved all-embracing stay-at-home orders, so they belong in yet another category.)
Let’s start with three quick observations:
First, Georgia did not restore the pre-CCP Virus status quo immediately, or even close. The process is being phased in, assuming the virus’ grip continues to ease.
Third, It’s still early. So Georgia (like the rest of the country) could see new outbreaks, or a full-fledged second wave.
So far, though, so good.
Specifically, on April 24, according to state’s health department, the seven-day moving average of newly confirmed cases was 746.6. Since then, it’s fallen dramatically – to 315.3 as of yesterday. Moreover, this decline has taken place as the state has ramped up testing, which all else equal, should be revealing many more new cases.
The improvement in Georgia’s virus death count has been even better. On April 24, the state recorded 36 virus-related fatalities, according to its health department. Yesterday? None. And it was none on Saturday also.
In addition, as with many other states (like New York and Michigan), Georgia’s CCP Virus problem is concentrated in and around the state’s biggest city. It’s true that the metro Atlanta area’s five counties (Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinett, Cobb, and Hall) account for much lower shares of total state confirmed cases (27.10 percent) and deaths (31.67 percent) than elsewhere. But it’s still understandable that counties elsewhere would be agitating for some easing of the lockdown. (These figures come from the state health department, too.)
The worst-case scenarios predicted for Georgia and other early reopening states could still pan out. But as of today, the data are telling a very different story.