Story at a glance
- Georgia Gov. Kemp allowed the stay-at-home order to expire, easing restrictions on social distancing.
- More than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on the day before the stay at home order was lifted, and another 1000+ were reported on the day it was lifted.
- The state’s public health department has reported lower numbers, trending downward.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include new data and additional context.
Georgia is one of a handful of states to move forward with reopening despite warnings from public health experts.
Some states, including Texas and Tennessee, have seen spikes in new coronavirus cases and deaths following the relaxation of social distancing measures. A model from researchers previously based at MIT previously projected that the death rate could double after lifting social distancing measures in Georgia.
Still, Gov. Brian Kemp lifted the statewide shelter-in-place order for most residents on May 1, with the exception of the elderly and “medically fragile.” The day before, there were 1,131 newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19, going over 1,000 for the first time since April 17, according to data collected by The Hill. The next day, May 1, there were 1,005 new cases. The total number of new cases the week of May 3 was 5,159, up from the previous week's total of 4,840, with 261 new deaths during that time.
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Data from the Georgia Department of Public Health shows a slightly different picture, with only 2,912 new cases recorded from ICU admission information. However, the state tracker notes that some confirmed cases over the last 14 days may not yet be accounted for due to pending test results or unreported illnesses. The cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths over time also appear to have leveled off according to the public health department’s data, although only in recent days, for which data may still be incomplete. There is also often a lag in reporting on weekends.
The pandemic has disproportionately affected the black population in Georgia, which makes up about 32 percent of the total population. More than 10,000 COVID-19 patients are black, out of 29,011 cases in the state as of May 4, which is greater than any other racial group.
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