I started regularly blogging again as a way to deal with my anxiety over the pandemic. I have always processed my thoughts best through writing. And, I wanted to keep a record of what life was like during this time.
And, at this moment in time in Georgia, things are not going well.
Our cases have surged well past the high point in April when the state first ordered residents to shelter in place. (We were then one of the first states to lift the orders, by the way, despite no evidence the cases were in decline.) Yet state leaders stubbornly deny the need to do anything necessary to control the outbreak.
Since the beginning, public updates on the pandemic from the Georgia Department of Public Heatlh have been so confusing and error-ridden that many believe them to be intentionally deceptive. Thus, people who want to know the status of COVID-19 in Georgia have to look elsewhere for reliable info.
I follow a Substack newsletter, Georgia COVID-19 Updates, written by Dr. Amber Schmidtke, an expert in medical microbiology and immunology and an assistant professor of medical education at Mercer University School of Medicine.
This was in Friday’s update Dr. Schmidtke [emphasis added is mine]:
We are at a point now that we have so few ICU beds available in multiple regions of the state that we are one bad car accident or one cluster of severe cases away from running out of beds entirely. In addition, in the time that GEMA has been producing the situation reports, there has never been a time that so many regions had less than 10 ICU beds remaining
The White House and a Congressional committee have explicitly told the state that our cases are out-of-control and we need to be doing more to stop the spread. Yet what is the governor doing with his time and the state’s limited resources? He’s suing the Atlanta mayor for implementing a mask order. And, in the process of extending the state COVID-19 restrictions has also extended the ban on local mask orders.
I am not making this up. I so wish I were.
In the middle of an out-of-control outbreak of a deadly infectious disease, with hospitals running out of beds, the governor says, ‘Yes, masks are important, but you can’t require them.’
His rationale: Georgians will “do the right thing” without being required to. Abundant evidence over the past month has shown that many Georgians aren’t doing the right thing, despite being threatened with *gasp* the loss of fall college football. And still, no change in the governor’s approach.
Welcome to life under the logic-defying wisdom of Governor Shotgun.
It also turns out that an outbreak at a summer youth camp in north Georgia in June occurred despite the camp taking all precautions required by the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 260 kids and staff got the coronavirus. The number of cases among camp staff – who were required to wear masks – was much lower than among the campers, who did not have to wear them.
Has this had any impact on the state’s COVID-19 plan, including advice on reopening schools in person? Not that I can tell.
It’s every person, city, county, on their own to try to keep themselves and their communities safe – but, you know, not too safe. Or, the governor might sue you.