The Peach State is now locking down to curb the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. Gov. Brian Kemp’s order goes into effect Friday and will remain so until April 13. The state has around 4,683 cases of infection today, but being so close to a hotbed state like Florida, it’s bound to increase. Unlike Virginia, this stay-at-home order comes with some teeth concerning enforcement. State police and other officials that he plans to deputize will be out to enforce the order. The National Guard will also be deployed in hotspots across the state (via 11Alive):
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, stepping outside the State Capitol in downtown Atlanta on a brilliant, cool, April 1 afternoon, delivered bad news.
“We’ve got to be more aggressive,” he said. “I think the issue is, we still continue to have people that are not taking this seriously.”
And with straight talk, he told reporters at a news conference that it is now clear that no one is able to know how many Georgians are infected with the coronavirus. Some don't even realize they're infected, they show no symptoms, and they’re spreading it unknowingly to others.
The order will have exceptions, he said, so people can go to the grocery store and the pharmacy, and run other necessary errands.
And he will announce which essential businesses will be allowed to stay open.
But the order comes with teeth.
“We’re definitely going to be enforcing it with state law enforcement and other people that I have the ability to deputize,” he said. “My directive is not to go around and lock a bunch of people up. … What we want to do is get people to comply with this. Because if we write somebody a ticket ... hopefully, they won’t do it again, but they still did it in the first place and put somebody at risk.”
Governor Kemp said he is trying not to threaten, but to encourage people to watch out for each other by staying away from each other.
“It is not the government that is going to solve that problem. It is the community at large. And we just need to do this for a few more weeks," Kemp said. "Regardless of how long this goes on, now is the crunch time for us to lessen the peak. ... I want to encourage my fellow Georgians to hang in there. I know that you’re tired of this, I know you want to return to business as usual, but we must first overcome the obstacles that we have in our path.”
Georgia National Guard troops will be deployed to hot spots across the state, in addition to Albany and Dougherty County, to assist hospitals.
And more than 100 National Guard troops will be assigned to certain long-term living facilities, including nursing homes, that need help moving residents, and sanitizing the facilities.
As of today, the U.S. has over 230,000 Wuhan coronavirus cases, with over 5,700 people dying from the disease. It’s highly contagious. It’s serious. And those who are asymptomatic can easily spread it to the elderly and immunocompromised who are most susceptible to death if infected. That does not mean that young people are immune. Young people can die from this virus and some already have. Others have become very ill, but chances of survival and recovery are generally higher. It’s why social distancing is key, as is washing your hands constantly and avoid touching your face. One thing that was a bit jarring in Kemp’s presser was his apparent admission that he didn’t know asymptomatic people can spread the virus. Surfaces are a huge area, as the Wuhan virus can live on some surfaces for up to three days.