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Myrydd Wells

Myrydd Wells
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Digital editor Myrydd Wells (pronounced "merith") joined the Atlanta magazine staff as digital producer in late 2013. Previously she worked as a copy editor and page designer for the Naples Daily News in Florida and in her hometown of Indianapolis as an intern and later contributing editor for Indianapolis Monthly magazine. A proud alumna of Indiana University Bloomington, she enjoys writing about pop culture, television, local events, animals, internet sensations, and anything else offbeat.

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Saturday, May 16

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Patrons at Historic Fourth Ward Park last weekend

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Friday, the Atlanta open was canceled and more businesses began to re-open. Here’s your Saturday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 37,078 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,588 people have died. 321,069 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,567 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Let’s talk about lag—on Friday, Slate published a story about the 14-day window that appears on end of the “COVID-19 Cases Over Time” graph on the state health department’s COVID-19 dashboard. As the state’s website says, “Confirmed cases over the last 14 days may not be accounted for due to illnesses yet to be reported or test results may still be pending”—for example, at publication time of this article, the graph shows only 1 positive COVID-19 case for today, a number that will certainly change. The Slate article used graphs to illustrate just how much those unconfirmed numbers can change by using a chart of the 14-day predicted period ending April 29—on April 29 itself, the chart appeared to show cases in Georgia declining during that 14 day period. But two weeks later on May 13, once the data was confirmed, you can see cases during that same time period were actually plateauing.

 

For businesses owners and residents alike, the lag can be frustrating, as there isn’t a clear way to see how cases are trending right now as opposed to two weeks ago. The article suggests, “One way to deal with this could be to try to compare gaps in reported cases vs. final totals after reporting windows have passed. Such information could guide hindsight casting and provide improved estimates of real-time cases during reporting windows.”

Ultimately, it’s important to know how to read whatever data set you’re looking at. If you’re looking at the state dashboard, you need to be mindful of the 14-day lag. The numbers for May 3, which are still preliminary, will probably not change a ton at this point, but the numbers for May 15 and 16 certainly will. [Slate]

• Pop-up testing will take place today at Home Depot Backyard (next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium) from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. You can register on-site, but advance registration is recommended here. [AJC]

• The Truist Atlanta Open tennis tournament (formerly known as the BB&T Atlanta Open) has been officially canceled. It was originally set to be held from July 25 to August 2 at Atlantic Station. [AJC]

• Following United and the Hawks, the Atlanta Falcons are set to return to their training facility on Tuesday. [AJC]

• Several YMCA facilities have re-opened, including East Lake, Carl E. Sanders (Moores Mill Road), Northeast Cobb, and Northwest Family (Kennesaw). WSB-TV has a list here. [WSB-TV]

• The list of restaurants opening for dine-in (or at least patio dine-in) continues to grow. Among the recent additions are Aria, Cafe Intermezzo, Chat Patti, D92 Korean BBQ, and Superica. Eater Atlanta is keeping a full list here. [Eater Atlanta]

• If you’re still not comfortable with dine-in, we’ve also rounded up those on our 75 Best Restaurants list who are offering takeout and delivery—50 in total. Ordering takeout from some of your old favorites can be way to revive fond memories and keep traditions alive. It can also help you form new memories, as our deputy editor Mara Shalhoup writes in her essay about ordering takeout for the past two months. A short excerpt below:

Of all the times I’ve walked up to Gato’s front door, though, none were like my visit on a Saturday in late April, when the front door was blocked by a metal patio table offering industrial-strength hand sanitizer, and my order of a breakfast burrito, huevos ranchero, and pancakes was deposited there for me. Stinson also hand-delivered a ziplock bag packed with the pound of his fresh masa that I’d ordered, which I pressed into tortillas at home in an attempt to recapture some of the magic of eating at Gato. It actually worked.

Many diners feel a pang of sadness when gazing upon the dining rooms, now empty, that have populated their memories. I’ve felt those pangs, too, a little, but mostly I’ve found comfort in peering into these hollowed spaces. Unlike most other ghosts, these are ones that, with enough sheer will (on the part of the people who run them, those who frequented them, and, hopefully, the organizations and governmental agencies that will step up aid), can slowly materialize, solidifying again into their former selves. (Keep reading.)

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Friday, May 15

Atlanta coronavirus updates
A customer dines at J. Christopher’s in Brookhaven on April 27. Even with businesses re-opening, Georgia’s total unemployment rate continues to climb.

Photograph by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

On Thursday, Georgia’s unemployment rate continued to rise and Zoo Atlanta announced its re-opening. Here’s your Friday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 36,554 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,548 people have died. 301,874 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,381 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• The Georgia Department of Labor processed 242,772 unemployment claims last week, bringing the total claims since the beginning of March to 1,849,382, or 37 percent of the state’s pre-pandemic workforce, the AJC reports. The national average is 22 percent. “The crush of applications for jobless benefits seemed largely unaffected by the state’s tentative efforts to open up the economy,” the AJC notes. Earlier this week, labor commissioner Mark Butler told us that Georgia’s higher-than-average claim rate might be due to the fact that Georgia is actually processing claims faster than other states. “For example, we’ve got Florida to the south of us. I think last week, out of all the claims they’d received, they’d only processed 12 percent,” Butler said. “That means they’ve gotten [the claim] in their system and it’s starting to move. By this time last week, we were at 80 percent of the claims that we’d gotten in, processed, and started paying out. Obviously, a lot of people still haven’t been paid.” [AJC/Atlanta]

In our interview, Butler also answered several of your reader-submitted questions about unemployment claims, including how to apply for PUA, how much employees can earn each week and still receive benefits, what happen if your employer re-opens but you aren’t comfortable going back, and more. Read the full story here.

• The latest COVID-19 spike in Hall County is concerning DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. Even though the two counties are 40 miles away, several DeKalb county residents work in Gainsville’s chicken plants. Refugees in Clarkston are among the many who work at the plants, and a Clarkston physician told the AJC that language barriers and cramped living spaces don’t help the situation. As the AJC notes, “Things may cut both ways, of course, with folks from DeKalb contributing to the spread in Hall. Definitive conclusions will be hard to come by.” Says DeKalb’s district health director Dr. Elizabeth Ford, “We’ve been working very closely with Hall County and with (DeKalb’s) Clarkston community to make sure that they understand what precautions they as employees can take, and making sure that we make testing available to them.” [AJC]

The CDC has issued a health advisory about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare condition that has been associated with COVID-19. Symptoms present similar to Kawasaki syndrome—another rare condition that usually impacts children younger than 5 and causes inflammation of the blood vessels, including coronary arteries. MIS-C causes fever and inflammation, sometimes presenting as a bright red tongue, red eyes, or cracked lips. One physician at Boston Children’s Hospital told CNN that MIS-C is not caused by the coronavirus itself, but rather is an immune response to COVID-19. [CDC/CNN]

• Zoo Atlanta has announced it will re-open this weekend, and like the Atlanta Botanical Garden, it will rely on timed tickets to keep tabs on capacity. Tickets can only be purchased online in advance, and the zoo will be cashless. Visitors are encouraged to use maps on their cell phones, as paper maps will no longer be distributed. Buildings will also be closed with the exception of restrooms. Food will be available for purchase from outdoor kiosks. Masks are strongly encouraged. [WSB-TV]

• Beginning Saturday, Publix is changing its store hours to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will no longer restrict the 7 a.m. hour to seniors and those with underlying conditions. It does encourage those shoppers to still visit during that time, as it’s generally less crowded. Pharmacies will also return to regular hours. [Publix]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Thursday, May 14

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Medical workers conduct COVID-19 tests at a church in New York City. Locally, COVID-19 testing will now be available at Passion City Church, Fulton County has announced.

Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On Wednesday, new COVID-19 testing sites opened and many companies are changing their policies in light of the pandemic. Here’s your Thursday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 35,793 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,523 people have died. 285,881 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,320 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Fulton County has opened two more walk-up testing sites: one at Center for Health and Rehabilitation (265 Boulevard) and one at Passion City Church (515 Garson Drive). Call the county COVID-19 hotline, 404-613-8150, to schedule an appointment. You don’t need to have symptoms, and neither a physician referral nor insurance is required. [AJC]

• If you’re active on Twitter, you might have seen several people sharing a chart from the state’s COVID-19 dashboard that seemed to show coronavirus case rates falling in several counties, but in fact, the dates on the x-axis were all out of order. State Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta) even sent a concerned letter to the governor’s office regarding the chart. The chart’s x-axis has since been fixed, and the governor’s spokesperson issued an apology, but it was just the latest in complaints about how the state presents its COVID-19 data. The state has changed the way it reports data several times—as the AJC notes in detail in this story—and constant change leads to confusion and mistrust. (The AJC has its own dashboard here with disclaimers on how they choose to log and report the raw state data.) The problem isn’t a solely Georgia one; CityLab recently did a story on inconsistencies in data reporting across the county. The independent COVID-19 Tracking Project actually gives the state an A+ rating for how well it reports its data, based on a number of criteria. [AJC/CityLab/COVID-19 Tracking Project]

• A new study from Morehouse School of Medicine found that COVID-19 cases are higher in black communities even when accounting for factors such as poverty, population density, and access to health insurance. [AJC]

• Following Brookhaven, Dunwoody is now offering its restaurants temporary outdoor dining permits that allow restaurants to turn their parking lots and other common areas into outdoor seating. [Eater Atlanta]

• The Atlanta Botanical Garden will re-open for its members on May 18 and to the public on May 23. Only a certain number of guests will be admitted every 15 minutes, so it’s best to purchase a timed ticket online in advance. (Walk-ups are not guaranteed entry.) Some spaces within the park will remain closed, and while masks are strongly encouraged at the garden, they will be required inside restrooms and the cafe. Read a detailed FAQ here. [Atlanta Botanical Garden]

• Marietta Square Market will re-open all of its restaurants on Friday and open its patio space for dine-in. [Facebook]

• As Six Flags prepares to re-open (a date for which has not yet been announced), the park has set guidelines for a new reservation system to keep an eye on park attendance levels. All ticket-holders must select a date and time they wish to visit and watch a safety video. [CBS46]

• Uber is also changing their operating guidelines—CNN reports that drivers will be required to take selfies in the app showing that they are wearing face masks, and passengers, too, will be asked in the app to confirm they are wearing a mask, but their response will be essentially on the honor system with no photograph required. If an Uber driver shows up maskless, riders can cancel the ride with no penalties, the company says. [CNN]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Wednesday, May 13

Atlanta latest coronavirus updates
The closed Roxy Theater at the Battery Atlanta back in March. The governor has extended his executive order to keep live entertainment venues closed through the end of May.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the governor extended an executive order to keep bars, nightclubs, and live entertainment venues closed for the rest of the month. Here’s your Wednesday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 35,245 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,493 people have died. 273,904 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,228 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• The state has once again updated the COVID-19 dashboard linked above with new charts that show the virus’s progression over time in each county. Interestingly, the Fulton County graph now shows April 29 reporting the highest amount of confirmed cases—122—in a single day. (The state has been ramping up testing in the past few weeks.) Doughtery County, which was pummeled at the beginning of the outbreak, hit a sharp peak on March 30 with 76 confirmed cases and has since reduced daily case totals to about 10 per day. Recent spikes in Hall County are also visible. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Governor Brian Kemp signed a new executive order that will keep bars, nightclubs, amusement parks, and live entertainment venues closed through at least May 31. The order also extends most of the provisions in the previous executive order—no gatherings of more than 10 people, various safety rules for businesses—through the end of the month. Restaurants can now seat 10 people per table (as opposed to six) and have 10 patrons per 300 square feet of restaurant space. Childcare facilities can now have 20 children per classroom as opposed to 10. Summer day camps can also re-open with enhanced safety measures—overnight camps will remain closed. The state is also continuing to ramp up its contact tracing program. [AJC]

• You’re not crazy—your grocery bills have been higher lately. Grocery prices in the U.S. rose 2.6 percent in April, the largest jump in nearly 50 years. Prices on meat, poultry, and eggs rose the most, and cereals and bakery items saw their largest price increases ever. [AJC]

• Gas prices are starting to tick back up too as businesses re-open and more people travel. WSB-TV reports Georgia’s average as $1.65 per gallon, up three cents from last week. Prices are still a far cry from this time last year, when the average was $2.68 per gallon. [WSB-TV]

• Anxious drivers, rejoice: Governor Kemp has rolled back the order allowing teens to obtain driver’s licenses without taking the road test. The 20,000 teens who already received licenses under the previous order will have to pass a road test by September 30.  [AJC]

• Piedmont Healthcare is among those locally who are now offering COVID-19 antibody tests, which can determine if you had the disease in the past. Antibodies don’t guarantee immunity, but the data helps researchers understand potential immunity and also better understand the disease’s spread. Piedmont’s website notes that if you’ve previously had a positive COVID-19 test, you don’t need antibody testing—you presumably have them. More information on scheduling an antibody test can be found here. [Piedmont Healthcare]

• The Plaza Theatre is now hosting drive-in movies. Upcoming showings include The Dark Crystal, Clue, and Jurassic Park. Buy tickets here. [Plaza Theatre]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Tuesday, May 12

Atlanta coronavirus updates
The mostly empty Battery at Truist Park on March 26. The AP reported that MLB is looking at a proposal to start baseball games in July.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Monday, MLB officials pondered this year’s season and APD chief Erika Shields updated Atlanta City Council on how crime has been during the pandemic. Here’s your Tuesday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 34,635 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,461 people have died. 262,179 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,130 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• The AP is reporting that Major League Baseball owners approved a proposal that would see spring training resume in mid-June and games start in early July. According to the AP’s source, MLB officials will present the proposal to the players’ union and will need their support to continue. However, a proposed 50-50 revenue split is thought to a major point of contention for players. Meanwhile, at Truist Park, the grounds crew is keeping the field maintained and ready to go for whenever baseball returns. [AP/Fox 5]

• “What up, it’s Killer Mike, but the real killer is COVID-19, and it’s still out here.” You might soon hear this PSA on local radio stations and see the Run the Jewels rapper on billboards and ads reminding Atlantans about the dangers of coronavirus. The campaign was launched DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and is primarily aimed at young black Atlantans, according to WSB-TV. Thurmond told the TV station that many black households are multigenerational, and he wants young people to understand the danger of unintentionally exposing older family members to COVID-19. Killer Mike also told the station, “I just don’t want to see people who look like me die unnecessarily because of cabin fever.” [WSB-TV]

• Atlanta Police Department Chief Erika Shields spoke about crime during the pandemic at yesterday’s Atlanta City Council meeting. “Part 1” crimes, such as murder, robbery, arson, and car theft are down 26 percent, violent crime is down 13 percent, rape calls are down 86 percent (Shields attributed this to bar closures). However, aggravated assault calls are up 4 percent and domestic violence calls are up 42 percent. 56 percent of the domestic violence calls involved a current or former romantic partner. [11 Alive]

• MomoCon won’t be taking over the Georgia World Congress Center on Memorial Day weekend as once planned, but it will be take over Twitch. The anime convention has announced plans for a virtual event, dubbed “MomoConline,” that will feature livestreamed panels, a digital cosplay showcase, a shop for merch and memorabilia, and even a MomoCon-themed Animal Crossing island. MomoConline runs from May 21-24. [AJC]

• Just as Atlanta United did last week, the Atlanta Hawks have re-opened their training facility for individual workouts. [WSB]

• The final round of ATL Food Bingo is underway. Mark off five local restaurants on one of these bingo cards by spending least $20 at each on takeout, merch, or donations, the submit your card by 11:59 p.m. on June 1 to win prizes. The five restaurants can be in any order on the card—you don’t need a “bingo,”—and be sure to keep your receipts, as they’ll be verified if you win a prize. [ATL Food Bingo]

• We’re now about two months into social distancing and sheltering-in-place, and the isolation combined with fear and worry can take a severe toll on your mental state. If you feel you need help or someone to talk to, Georgia has a COVID-19 emotional support line at 866-399-8938. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also has a support hotline at 1-800-950-6264.

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Monday, May 11

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Park goers enjoy an afternoon at Historic Fourth Ward Park on Sunday.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Over the weekend, the governor announced that current hospitalizations reached a new low. Here’s your Monday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 33,833 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,405 people have died. 251,288 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,001 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• On Saturday, Governor Brian Kemp tweeted that the state currently had the fewest hospitalized COVID-19 patients—1,203—since data tracking began on April 8. (The 6,001 figure above is the cumulative number since the pandemic began.) He also said the fewest ventilators were in use at 897 out of 1,945 available. [AJC]

• Thanks to the fact that many dental procedures generally produce some type of aerosol from the patient’s mouth, dentists are at a particular risk for COVID-19. As offices began to re-open, the Georgia Dental Association sent a letter to the governor stating that many offices wouldn’t be able to meet the CDC’s minimum safety requirements, which include having enough N95 masks, gowns, and gloves, the AJC reports. One expert told the paper that hygienists may need to go back to using hand instruments to clean teeth rather than more modern ultrasonic scalers to reduce aerosol spread. [AJC]

Eater Atlanta is keeping a list of metro Atlanta restaurants that are re-opening their dining rooms and/or patios. A few of the recent additions: Mellow Mushroom, Grana (rooftop and patio only), Le Bilboquet, the Roof at Ponce City Market, and SweetWater Brewing Co. (patio only). [Eater Atlanta]

• WSB-TV has a list of attractions that have re-opened, among them: Battle and Brew gaming restaurant, Bad Axe Throwing, Dave and Buster’s, and the SkyView Ferris wheel. [WSB-TV]

• In Cobb County, private social club the Georgian Club has announced it will permanently close due to the pandemic. [Georgian Club]

• The AJC profiled the owners of Cato Shoe Repair in Buckhead, Joe and Hattie Jordan, who are 82 and 75 respectively. The re-opened their shop this past Monday, but business has been slow. The story chronicles how the couple opened their store, Joe’s dedication to his work, and the struggles of operating a small business during the pandemic. Read the full article here. [AJC]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Saturday, May 9

Atlanta coronavirus update
Few passengers wait for flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on April 20. Delta announced Friday it would cut service to several secondary airports.

Photograph by Rob Carr/Getty Images

On Friday, two more restaurants shuttered due to the crisis. Here’s your Saturday morning update:

• As of publication time, there have been 32,497 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 1,400 people have died. 235,324 tests have been conducted. 5,981 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Researchers at the University of Maryland looked at smartphone location data and determined that after Governor Brian Kemp allowed businesses such as hair salons, bowling alleys, and restaurant dining rooms to re-open, the state saw a 13 percent increase of out-of-state visitors (more than 62,000 people). 92 percent came from Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida. Even though these states were also allowing some businesses to re-open, Georgia had many more options available. The lead researcher on the project told the Washington Post he suspects the trips were likely for pleasure rather than businesses, as many workplaces have not re-opened. “It seems people are traveling there for things they can’t do, or for business that aren’t open, in their own state,” he said. [Washington Post]

• Delta is suspending service to several secondary airports, including Chicago Midway, Oakland, Akron-Canton, Hollywood Burbank, Newport News/Williamsburg, and a handful of others through September. [AJC]

• Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has ordered the flags at Atlanta City Hall to be lowered to half-mast and said on Twitter, “They will remain lowered until we flatten the curve.” She credited D.L. Hughley’s radio show for “raising the consciousness of this needed act.” [Twitter]

• Two more restaurants have closed permanently due to the COVID-19 crisis—Will Turner is shutting down the brick-and-mortar location of Blaxican in Peachtree Corners but plans to keep the food truck running and continue catering. On Buford Highway, Panahar Bangladeshi Cuisine will shutter after 20 years. [Eater Atlanta 1/Eater Atlanta 2]

• It’s not just the residents of nursing homes and senior living facilities that are getting pummeled by COVID-19—the AJC reports that “[Georgia’s] count of infected long-term care workers has more than doubled since mid-April, reaching 1,824 as of Thursday.” Many of these workers make “little more than minimum wage,” the paper notes. When employees are sick, facilities face staffing shortages, and that means seniors may not receive the full care they need. Health officials and industry leaders are calling for more rapid testing to be offered to senior care facilities to help prevent the spread, the AJC says. [AJC]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Friday, May 8

Atlanta coronavirus update
Dr. Kathleen Toomey answers questions during a press conference on April 27.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Thursday, Governor Kemp announced that any Georgian—symptomatic or asymptomatic—could schedule a coronavirus test. Here’s your Friday morning update:

• As of publication time, there have been 31,636 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 1,351 people have died. 227,477 tests have been conducted. 5,877 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Governor Brian Kemp announced in a press conference today that anyone in Georgia—symptomatic or asymptomatic—can schedule a coronavirus test. Both the governor and state public health commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey are urging Georgians to get tested in order to better understand the spread of the virus and better implement contact tracing to control the spread. However, while the state finally has a surplus of tests, the labs processing those tests have been overwhelmed, as the AJC and WSB-TV found, delaying results for at least 4,000 people. Still, more widespread testing is a big step forward for the state. [Office of the Governor/AJC]

• The state is hiring temporary contact tracers as it prepares to ramp up that program. The position pays $15 per hour, and according to the job description, tracers will “either call or virtually monitor every contact of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to document a symptom check, refer them for testing according to established protocols, and provide them with instructions for quarantine.” View the description and apply here. (Also heads up to undergrad and graduate students—there’s a paid contact tracing internship.) [Georgia Dept. of Health]

• Children’s Hospital of Atlanta confirmed to WSB-TV that they are examining several cases of patients who “exhibited Kawasaki [disease]-like symptoms and inflammation.” While CHOA emphasized the cases are still rare, a recent outbreak of Kawasaki disease—a rare inflammatory disease of the blood vessels that usually affects children younger than five—in New York has researchers looking to see if there’s a link between the disease and COVID-19. Some children in New York that had COVID-19 also had Kawasaki-like symptoms. [WSB-TV]

• Speaking of kids, as the school year ends, parents are beginning to wonder what the fall will look like if students return to school. Among the concerns with children is that while they don’t often fall ill with COVID-19, they could still carry and spread the disease. (Add to the fact that kids are already germ magnets, as any parent will tell you.) The American Academy of Pediatrics has released some guidelines as administrators and officials begin planning the next academic year, among them, keeping students at a distance, which will be difficult in already overcrowded classrooms. The academy’s president suggested staggered start times as a possible solution, the AJC reports. Kids who are at high risk for COVID-19 (such as those with underlying health conditions) may need to continue distance learning or homeschooling. [AJC]

• Cobb and Douglas Counties are now releasing daily COVID-19 reports. Their website is fairly similar to the statewide reporting page, but offers more detailed information about the disease in those counties, such as a map of cases by zip code. Keep in mind that like the state’s reporting page, data inputting could be delayed and may not reflect all current cases. [CDPH]

• The Georgia Department of Labor processed 228,352 unemployment claims last week. While that’s down from the week previous, the total amount of claims during the past seven weeks amounts to 31 percent of Georgia’s workforce, compared to 21 percent of the national workforce, the AJC reports. Only two other states—Hawaii and Kentucky—have a higher percentage of unemployment rates. It’s possible that Georgia is processing claims faster than other states, or it could because so much of the state’s workforce is in “food and accommodation, retail and wholesale trade, and in the corporate sector,” according to one economist the AJC interviewed. Other economists had other theories: it’s because of more small workplaces, or more non-union jobs. [Georgia DOL/AJC]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Thursday, May 7

Atlanta coronavirus update
Atlanta United midfielder Matheus Rossetto practices at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta on Wednesday. Group practices are still not allowed.

On Wednesday, Atlanta United players began their first individual practices since March and Killer Mike and T.I. helped pass out meals. Here’s your Thursday morning update:

• As of publication time, there have been 31,193 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 1,332 people have died. 217,303 tests have been conducted. 5,795 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• What will happen to us next? It’s the question everyone wants an answer to and perhaps the hardest to determine. According to the AJC, Projection models seem to agree that Georgia’s re-opening will lead to an increase in cases and deaths—just how many varies from model to model. The IHME model, which while widely cited hasn’t always been super accurate, shows a death toll of 5,000 in Georgia by August. Another projection model, a collaboration between Georgia Tech, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Boston Medical Center, created a report on April 24, the day hair salons and other businesses were allowed to re-open. It shows the longer we keep social distancing, the less deaths we’ll see. But the model says that if we enforced a “lockdown” for just four weeks—described as “a complete ban on travel, including canceling flights and closing inter-state travel and local travel, as has been done in some countries such as Italy, China, and India” along with allowing only trips to grocery stores and pharmacies—we’d see the least amount of deaths among the model’s three predictions and in the least amount of “shutdown” time. Of course, to really know what is going to happen in Georgia—and the rest of the country—we’re just going to have to wait and see. [AJC]

• The latest coronavirus report from the Fulton County Board of Health has been released—it looks the changes in new COVID-19 cases between this past Friday and Monday. The report includes maps and breaks down cases by zip code. [Fulton BOH]

• Killer Mike and T.I. teamed up with PAWkids to distribute meals from Bankhead Seafood Market, the restaurant they purchased two years ago. 1,000 meals were distributed to Grove Park residents on Wednesday, and program plans to continue weekly. [GPB]

• Volunteer police and firefighters in DeKalb County have been handing out thousands of kits containing face masks and hand sanitizer. 10,000 kits are set to be distributed to residents in the coming weeks. [Fox 5]

• How will restaurants survive COVID-19? They’re gonna need our help—not to mention help from local and federal policymakers. Our June issue, the Resilience of Restaurants, will examine how food service industry workers are coping and what we can do to help them stay afloat. You can read the feature online now: 10 ways to help restaurants survive COVID-19; how couples in the industry are adapting; and how Buford Highway can emerge from this. The issue will be on newsstands in June, and you can always subscribe here.

• Atlanta United players are back on the practice fields. While group practices are still outlawed, players can participate on individual practices in their own cordoned-off segments of the outdoor practice field in Marietta. Players weren’t allowed to get close to each other or use locker rooms or indoor facilities. [AJC]

• This AJC headline will probably make you laugh, but it’s a completely valid topic for discussion nowadays—”How to combat your bad breath, now that you smell it under your mask.” Brush your teeth before you mask up, and lay off the garlic. [AJC]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Wednesday, May 6

Atlanta coronavirus update
Bottles of sanitizer at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar in Decatur

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the mayor addressed recent crowds. Here’s your Wednesday morning update:

• As of publication time, there have been 30,526 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 1,302 people have died. 204,137 tests have been conducted. 5,699 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• A follow-up to a story we and other outlets reported yesterday—on Monday, the New York Times published an internal CDC document that showed the U.S. could face 3,000 COVID-19 deaths per day by June 1. However, NPR followed up with Justin Lessler, the epidemiologist who did the projections, who said the document was an incomplete forecast. “It’s as if somebody looked over my shoulder when I was halfway through putting the work together and took a picture and put the results out there,” Lessler said. Instead, NPR reports, the 3,000 deaths per day prediction is “one of many possible scenarios” that Lessler is still modeling, and he isn’t sure how likely that prediction is yet. [NPR]

In an interview with 11 Alive, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressed the weekend crowds at Piedmont Park and other public areas. “I was surprised. And I’m ashamed to say it. Maybe I should not have been. But I thought that people still recognized that this is a deadly virus,” she said. She stressed that Atlantans should wear masks in public and stay home. [11 Alive]

• If you happened to see that Forbes article that was going viral on Monday—headline: “The Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Georgia Has Increased By More Than 40% Since The State Reopened For Business,”—turns out it was so inaccurate that the publication has since taken it down. As the article made the social media rounds on Monday, with even Mayor Bottoms tweeting the headline, some, including Kennesaw State University economics professor J.C. Bradbury, began pointing out that the writer’s calculations didn’t hold up. Per 11 Alive, the article “[used] the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in Georgia and the daily new confirmed cases to calculate Georgian’s risk of exposure to the virus.” But, according to Bradbury and Emory expert Dr. Carlos del Rio, that’s not how you calculate exposure risk. “Certainly, the more number of people who have the disease, certainly increases your chances of transmission. But to then go from that to say, our risk was increasing, as that number was higher a week later, is completely wrong, because that number [cumulatively] has to go up, it can’t go down,” Bradbury said. Del Rio told 11 Alive the point of the article was still a valid one. “What we need to emphasize here is the risk exposure is going to depend a lot on what you do,” del Rio said. “If you’re using a mask and practicing social-distancing, your exposure is going to be low.” [11 Alive]

• Duluth’s Infinite Energy Center will host another day of coronavirus testing on Friday, with capacity for about 1,200. Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms can schedule an appointment at the site, and those who are tested will receive a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich. Call 770-513-563 to schedule an appointment. [AJC]

• Normally, developing a new vaccine takes about a decade. But with the economy crippled and deaths mounting, the race is on to find an effective COVID-19 vaccine in little more than a year. Emory infectious-disease physician Evan Anderson immersed himself in that research while helping care for the sickest patients in the hospital. Learn more about the work Emory is doing on the nation’s first potential COVID-19 vaccine in this story from our upcoming June issue.

• Do you have questions about filing for unemployment in Georgia? We know there are a lot of confusing scenarios right now, so we’re asking our readers to submit their questions, and we’ll have experts answer them. Submit your question here.

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