Stacey Abrams And Keisha Lance Bottoms Push Back Against Georgia Governor's Decision To Reopen The State
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has urged residents to stay inside despite the state reopening.
April 21, 2020 at 10:58 pm
Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Monday afternoon that the state would be reopening with businesses gradually being allowed to resume operations, NBC News reported.
His announcement came with push back from local lawmakers who suggested the state wasn't prepared amid rising COVID-19 cases.
According to WSB-TV, as of Monday night, there were 19,399 confirmed cases of the novel virus and 775 deaths in the state of Georgia. Data from Johns Hopkins University revealed that the number of coronavirus cases more than doubled from 7,300 on April 6 to 18,000 on Sunday.
Local transportation routes in Atlanta have been suspended, and residents have been urged to wear face masks while out in public.
Two Atlanta Public Schools food distribution centers were shut down after workers tested positive.
Stacey Abrams, who lost in the gubernatorial election against Kemp in 2018, said the decision to reopen the state didn't make sense in an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
The Georgia Democrat said Gov. Kemp didn't consult with the mayors before making his decision to allow gyms and barbershops to reopen on Friday. Restaurants and social clubs are scheduled to reopen on Monday while bars and concert venues will remain closed.
“These jobs that are reopening, these businesses that are reopening, are going to force frontline workers back to work without having been tested, without having access to a healthcare system to help them if they are in need,” she said.
“The responsibility of a business owner is to first protect your workers. That cannot happen when you have a nail salon, when there's no possible way for that technician to be distant from their customer, when you are running a restaurant that requires face-to-face service,” she added.
Despite concerns of reopening states too early in fear of another spike in cases, Kemp's decision follows guidance issued by President Donald Trump to help states lift their lockdowns, CNN reports.
"We appreciate their leadership and share in the president's desire to reopen the economy and get Americans back to work," Kemp said.
Epidemiologists have also warned against reopening states without widespread testing, as Georgia ranks as having one of the slowest testing rates, according to NBC News.
The mayor of Atlanta, Georgia's biggest city, said Kemp's decision was not based on "anything logical."
“We see our numbers are continuing to tick up in this state, we see that our deaths are rising,” said Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “We have some of the highest asthma rates in the country right here in Atlanta.”
At the beginning of April, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and other health conditions prominent within the Black community make Black people more susceptible to the virus, as Blavity previously reported.
Democratic mayor of Savannah, Van Johnson, said: "This is still a dangerous time."
“We want them to keep the faith, but we want them to follow the science," Johnson said.
Although lawmakers have pushed back against the decision to lift the lockdown, Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said hospitals are seeing a decline in patients with flu-like symptoms, The Guardian reports.
“We definitely have a plateauing and what appears to be a decline,” Toomey said.
CNN cited a model referenced by the White House as projecting Georgia of reaching its peak in coronavirus deaths on April 7. However, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reports Georgia shouldn't loosen its restrictions until after June to prevent a resurgence.