Dear Gov. Kemp,
I am writing today to ask you to reconsider the statewide loosening of restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. On Apr. 20, on “Good Morning America,” Anthony Fauci addressed the economic cost of the shutdown: “I think the message is that, clearly, this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics, from the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus. But, unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery, economically, is not gonna happen.” Other scientists agree with him.
No less an institution than MIT has warned that its artificial intelligence model predicts that loosening restrictions now will result in a dramatic increase in infections: “We further demonstrate that relaxing or reversing quarantine measures right now will lead to an exponential explosion in the infected case count, thus nullifying the role played by all measures implemented in the US since mid-March 2020.”
I understand that you are concerned about the economy, concerned about the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. However, prematurely opening the state, especially to high-contact venues like salons and restaurants, will add to costs over time. Many people will not feel safe enough to go to salons or restaurants, and many owners may be unable to meet even the most minimal costs of staying open. Yet, these business owners will not be able to collect unemployment insurance. Opening now will most likely result in a second wave of infections, leading to yet another shutdown, which will be even more disruptive to the state. State revenues will shrink with every transition. Most importantly, a second wave will once again overwhelm our fragile healthcare system and put more health-care workers at risk.
I applaud the increase in testing sites in Georgia, and I believe that testing, data and contact tracing should be the basis on which the state loosens restrictions. However, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Georgia should not loosen restrictions until June 15. Georgians are willing to make sacrifices for each other and for the health of all, but we need to know our leaders are making decisions based on logic, not wishful thinking.
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