The photos I’ve seen the last few days of people in Georgia congregating has been disheartening to say the least. It was also sadly fully expected. What Governor Kemp has done in opening the state is not an easy thing to understand; not only has he given a green light to close-contact businesses, but he’s also lifted the stay-in-place rule for all but the elderly and medically infirm. The snarky part of me can’t help but think that saving money by reducing unemployment by killing off your citizens is never a smart reelection strategy.
Charlie Gile from NBC captured photos and videos of people gathering to watch the Blue Angels, go to Piedmont Park and buy Air Jordans at stores and in malls. No masks in sight anywhere.
And then there is that horrific one I’ve seen floating around social media with the caption, “I present to you: The most American photograph.” of a worker covered head to toe in plastic giving a customer a manicure. This is what we are: the land of the privileged on the backs of the least likely to be insured. The Atlantic includes the photo and sums it up appropriately in its article, Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice.
Forbes understands too. They explain how the risk of exposure has jumped up dramatically since Kemp’s decision to put us all at risk. I’m wondering if that even takes into consideration visitors. Anecdotally, I’ve heard of people driving into Georgia from Florida to get haircuts. And then there was this post on Facebook from someone who had driven to Augusta in from North Carolina in order to eat in at a restaurant and play putt putt. They called it exercising their freedoms. I call it endangering everyone.
And we know, the numbers are horrific. But you wouldn’t know that by following the Georgia Department of Public Health’s site. They revamped how they present their numbers and it is very misleading. This thread on Twitter explains why the GDPH’s backdating data makes it looks like the virus is trending downward. As a counter, the Covid Tracking Project captures historical data with multiple daily screenshots (not just for Georgia, do check it out).
All I can offer is all I’ve been offering every time I’ve written about COVID-19 (six of the last seven weeks!), a few words of advice: Stay home. Stay safe.
April 27, 2020: Five weeks later
April 13: Staying home
April 6: A very unique Passover
March 30, 2020: When the new normal is incredibly abnormal
March 23, 2020: COVID-19: Looking to Israel to help understand Georgia, U.S.
March 16, 2020: Should I stay or should I go?
On that note, I’d also like to share the video my college sophomore son made for a final project in his film production class. I think the message I get from his two-and-a-half minute clip is that no matter how unappealing it is to stay at home, it is important we do. We can only get to turn the corner if we all do our part.