Georgia, Florida Reopening Fails to Create Spike in Coronavirus Deaths

One of the great fears that have been spread about the coronavirus pandemic is that states and localities that open from lockdown “too soon” will see a spike in deaths from the disease. Indeed, Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, a Republican, came in for some special criticism along the lines that he was willing to see people die in order to restart the economy of his state. Erick Erickson explains.

“Between April 20 and May 1, a recurring trending hashtag on Twitter was KempHasBloodOnHisHands. Democrat politicians and others assailed Kemp, claiming people were going to die because of him.”

Ron Fournier, a former journalist and now owner of a PR firm was especially pungent in his criticism in an April 20 tweet.

“Mark this day. Because two and three weeks from now, the Georgia death toll is blood on his hands. And as Georgians move around the country, they’ll spread more death and economic destruction.”

By May 1, most businesses in Georgia were open with certain conditions and protections Two weeks later, according to the National Review, the spike in deaths has not materialized not only in Georgia but also in Florida, which has reopened as well. Indeed, it has been quite the opposite.

“In particular, Georgia and Florida, which were projected to see a sharp rise in new cases, have not experienced major new outbreaks in the past week. The average number of new daily cases in Florida declined by 14 percent over the past week, and Georgia’s average new daily cases dropped by 12 percent during the same time period, according to an analysis by Axios.”

What the experiences of Georgia and Florida tell about the policy of locking everyone down and then gradually letting people and businesses out with restrictions is open to discussion. Every state is different, with different regions within states. Also, testing for coronavirus of people who have the disease but are showing no symptoms is an inexact science thus far. Some public health experts suspect that far more people have had the coronavirus than is generally suspected, but don’t know it. They either had no symptoms or experienced something they took for a case of the flu.

Erick Erickson suspects that the hysteria that took place when Georgia and other states opened because of bad modeling. Also, most journalists are based in New York when the coronavirus pandemic is especially bad, because of dense populations and the incompetence of elected officials such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, who is able to talk a good game during press conferences, made two crucial mistakes that caused thousands of New Yorkers to die. He forced nursing homes to accept elderly coronavirus patients to convalesce, which turned those places into hot zones. He failed to clean and sanitize the New York City subway system, turning it into a venue of disease transmission. Cuomo has correct both mistakes and coronavirus infections and deaths are on a downslope in his state as well.

Gov Kemp and other Red State governors have by and large avoided such blunders. The average rate of infection and death from coronavirus has been much less than inside the blue state northeast of the country.

The experience of Georgia, Florida, and other states that have eased off of lockdown suggests that the way to stem the coronavirus is not to clamp down on and enact eternal shelter in place policies, as seems to be the policy in some blue states such as Michigan., The best policy is to let people out but to mandate mask-wearing, social distancing, and the frequent use of soap and sanitizer.  Hot Air explains.

“Doing nothing except casual social distancing produces a staggering death toll. An indefinite lockdown without mask-wearing cuts the death toll massively — but forget that, since indefinite lockdowns are infeasible. The most life-saving option by far turns out to be widespread mask-wearing along with basic social distancing after lockdowns are lifted. Precisely the scheme the U.S. could be headed for right now if people would stop screeching about social control and spend $8 at Etsy for a mask.”

The message is that while wearing a mask is an inconvenience it is the less bad alternative of all the others. That policy seems to be the one where states like Georgia and Florida are headed for. When the vaccine becomes available and the coronavirus becomes a bitter memory, the time when we had to wear masks will be a story to aggravate the grandchildren with.