Gov. Brian Kemp officially announced that “due to favorable data and more testing,” fitness, beauty and some entertainment centers have the option of reopening on April 24 with “basic operations.”
This pretty much shortens his original shelter-in-place-order by 6 days, since going bowling and getting your nails filled in isn’t exactly “essential.”
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the state currently has 21,102 cases of COVID-19 and 846 deaths. No recoveries have been reported.
Kemp’s previous shelter-in-place orders have done the state well. There’s no denying that the social distancing has helped slow the spread to an extent. However, we need to consider all the factors to the “favorable data.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this strain of the coronavirus is asymptomatic. People can be carriers of the disease and not display any symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, sore throat or fatigue. They could—and have—unknowingly spread it.
The CDC also has placed restrictions on testing due to the limited availability of it. Here’s one example from Lowndes county, which has 89 cases (including 2 at Valdosta State University) and a death toll of 3:
In a trip to the South Georgia Medical Center’s Urgent Care Unit’s COVID-19 testing facility back on March 25, Valdosta resident Jabari Hadley was denied testing due to not displaying the aforementioned symptoms despite taking a vacation to Miami the week before. Follow-up trips were also denied for the same reason.
“I was doing it for my job,” Hadley said. “I tried telling them that they wouldn’t test me because I wasn’t hacking, wheezing or looking sick.”
Keep in mind that social distancing orders in Florida were not complied with at that time, proven by the numerous reports of spring breakers risking it all for photo-ops at the beach. The follow up reports of those same spring breakers suffering from COVID-19 after their trip is alarming, to say the least.
This implies that much of the data that we do see for the virus is skewed at best. With the lack of testing for potential asymptomatic carriers, there is no way to tell just how much the “favorable data” is accurate.
Whether it is a financial move to breathe some life back into the state’s economy or a genuine belief that numbers are falling, this will only make matters worse and lead right into a “second wave” of outbreaks that the CDC is predicting.
With businesses being given the green light to reopen, this will put any progress in jeopardy. Of course, they do have the option of remaining closed, but people still have bills to pay. Many businesses will reopen just to survive and get by, and many citizens will go back to work for the same reason.
This is where we come in. We need to think about what is “essential”. We need to really evaluate all the different factors like the lack of testing and skewed results and determine if it is worth “going back to normal” or not.
Remember, no one is making us go outside and throw caution to the wind. The government is just not going to punish us for doing so. If we don’t take the precautions and catch it, that’s on us. If we turn out to be a carrier and infect other people like our loved ones, it’s also on us.
At this point, with all of the information and recommendations from experts, there’s no excuse why anyone should be outside for anything other than a grocery run to feed their family or a trip to the hospital for any treatment or emergency. Not staying inside like we need to (as well as the subpar governmental response) is a part of the problem. This will not end unless we tighten up.
If you’re struggling financially at this time, due to job loss, visit here at https://dol.georgia.gov/unemployment-benefits if you’re a Georgia resident. If you’re in need of food, essentials and live in the Valdosta area, visit Second Harvest of South Georgia on 1411 Harbin Circle for supplies.
This editorial was written by a member of the editorial staff and expresses the general opinion of The Spectator.