Georgia: A look at COVID-19 rates one month after reopening


ATLANTA (CNN)- CNN took a closer look at the COVID-19 data in Georgia. What we found is that, at least so far, the numbers haven’t changed much, in the month since Georgia’s governor eased restrictions in a big way.

The rate of new cases hasn’t declined, but it hasn’t skyrocketed either, despite some dire predictions.

Looking at data from Johns Hopkins University between April 24 and May 24, the number of new confirmed cases by day in Georgia does show slightly higher numbers over the past five days or so.

But zooming out – though it goes up and down – overall data shows the rate of new daily cases in Georgia has been mostly flat from April 24- the day of the first reopening – to May 24th – averaging in the 600 to 700 range.

The rate of new deaths per day are also steady.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last several weeks, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to further expand access to testing, and we need to encourage Georgians to make it a priority,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

In fact, testing is the one thing going way up in Georgia.

Georgia’s rate of new tests added per day has basically quadrupled in that one month period – from about 5,000 a day to about 20,000.

So more testing to find new cases – plus a flat rate of new cases – seems like good news.

And the rate of positive test results remains about 5 percent. It was in the range of 15-20 percent a month ago – also good news.

In Atlanta, the state’s most densely populated city, it seemed that some were willing to take the risk, data or not.

Nightclubs were packed and restaurants were, too.

In an apparent reference to Atlanta’s mayor, the host of one massive Atlanta pool party seemingly admitted to the risk writing on Instagram writing, “i’m sorry ms. bottoms.”

“From my perspective the state is doing OK,” said Emory University Global Health and Epidemiology Professor Dr. Carlos Del Rio.

Del Rio says the impact of the governor’s shelter in place order clearly decreased the number of infections and deaths.

“Having a healthy economy is about providing people jobs, It’s about providing people opportunity, and it’s about health. So, unemployment, it causes disease, and unemployment causes poverty. So we have to find a balance, but we need to do it carefully. We need to be careful not to be irresponsible,” said Del Rio.

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