ATLANTA – As Georgia surpasses 1,000 coronavirus deaths, Brian Kemp is still waffling about whether to continue his “reckless” and “irresponsible” decision making and end Georgia’s shelter in place order— while his own administration admits the state has failed to meet federal guidelines by reopening hair salons and bowling alleys well before data suggests a lasting decline in COVID-19 cases.
After Kemp attacked the press for questioning the misleading and confusing data behind his coronavirus plan in a press conference Monday, DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey confirmed that Georgia’s COVID-19 case data does not meet the basic federal guidelines for waiting to reopen the state until there have been two full weeks of a decline in cases.
Kemp’s “higgledy-piggledy” approach to the crisis has earned scathing criticism from health experts, elected leaders, and Georgians alike. Yesterday, an Atlanta Journal Constitution poll revealed that over 62% of Georgia voters disapprove of Kemp’s decisions to ease restrictions on businesses as the pandemic continues to spread, including a majority of Republicans and independents.
In southwest Georgia, with some of the highest death rates in the nation, concerned Georgians are raising the alarm, saying “it’s crazy to open these businesses” as the virus still hasn’t been brought under control and health providers continue to fear for their lives without enough protective gear. COVID-19 is particularly endangering the lives of black Georgians — African Americans account for more than 50% of Georgia’s coronavirus deaths, despite making up 30% of the total population.
As the expiration of Kemp’s shelter-in-place order looms, it couldn’t be clearer: neither the data nor Georgians want Kemp’s reckless decision making to continue. It’s time to put public health first.
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