Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, announced Saturday the lowest number of coronavirus hospitalizations in The Peach State since state hospitals began reporting such information.
In a tweet celebrating the good news, Kemp also revealed that Saturday marked the lowest number of COVID-19 patients on ventilator support.
“Today marks the lowest number of COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized statewide (1,203) since hospitals began reporting this data on April 8th,” Kemp said. “Today also marks the lowest total of ventilators in use (897 with 1,945 available). We will win this fight together!”
Kemp’s announcement came weeks after he began lifting strict lockdown measures, yet still maintaining social distancing and other common sense health guidelines.
The move generated fierce backlash from the media, political opponents, and even criticism from President Donald Trump.
For example, CNN published a story on April 28 declaring, “Georgia’s daily coronavirus deaths will nearly double by August with relaxed social distancing, model suggests.”
Meanwhile, the Atlantic said, “Georgia’s brash reopening puts much of the state’s working class in an impossible bind: risk death at work, or risk ruining yourself financially at home. In the grips of a pandemic, the approach is a morbid experiment in just how far states can push their people. Georgians are now the largely unwilling canaries in an invisible coal mine, sent to find out just how many individuals need to lose their job or their life for a state to work through a plague.”
Democrat Stacey Abrams, whom Kemp beat in 2018 to retain his governorship, claimed the move risked “putting more lives in danger.”
Now, more than two weeks after most restrictions were lifted — which resulted in a surge of out-of-state visitors — Georgia has not seen a spike in COVID-19 cases or deaths, which naysayers predicted would happen. This is significant because the incubation period for COVID-19 can take up to two weeks.
Still, lifting restrictions has not been the economic boon that state officials hoped it would be. With fear over the virus still fresh in the American conscious, Georgians are anxious to begin living life as they did before the pandemic struck.