Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Monday, April 20

A quick roundup of what's happening in metro Atlanta and what you may have missed

Atlanta coronavirus update
Peachtree Street on April 3

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Over the weekend, a popular coronavirus prediction model showed that Georgia has already hit its peak for fatalities. Here’s your Monday morning update:

• There are now 18,489 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 689 people have died. 3,489 have been hospitalized. 79,933 tests have been conducted. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Perhaps the biggest news of the weekend was that on Friday, the University of Washington’s IHME model, the most widely cited coronavirus prediction model, said that COVID-19 deaths peaked in Georgia on April 7, erasing its previous prediction of a fatality peak on May 3. The model is now predicting that the state might be able to begin relaxing social distancing measures after June 15 (this is based on when the model predicts we will fall to one in 1 million cases statewide and on the amount of public health funding available in the state), however, that date is contingent on having enough testing available and proper contact tracing methods. There are plenty of critics of the model, the AJC says, and we still don’t truly know Georgia’s COVID-19 numbers due to limited testing. Emory’s Dr. Carlos del Rio said the update shows that Georgia is taking proper social distancing steps and “emphasized that restrictions should be kept in place until the state is able to ramp up its coronavirus testing,” the AJC reports. Similarly, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on MSNBC that she doesn’t expect Atlanta to re-open for several more weeks. [IHME/AJC]

• After President Trump revealed federal recommendations for easing social distancing measures on Thursday, several states have begun discussing their next steps. Many governors have been forming regional pacts—California is working with Washington and Oregon; New York is working with New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Massachusetts; and in the Midwest, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky have announced they will work together on a plan. Governor Brian Kemp is expected to announce more about our state’s plan at a 4 p.m. press conference this afternoon, but he has been talking to officials in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina. (Absent is North Carolina, which, as the AJC notes, has a Democratic governor, unlike the other five states.) A formal Southern pact has not yet been formed. [AJC]

• The annual Inman Park Festival has been officially cancelled for 2020, with plans to return April 24-26, 2021. Instead, festival organizers will be hosting the “Inman Park UNFestival & Tour AT Home” this weekend, encouraging residents to hang butterflies (the neighborhood’s symbol) in their windows, decorate cars and sidewalks, and join in a 2 p.m. Saturday cheering session from their respective porches. [Inman Park Festival]

• Today is the Vortex’s 28th anniversary, so the restaurant is re-opening their Little Five Points location with a limited takeout menu and half-off beer. [The Vortex]

• Feel-good story: Peachtree City-based pilots group Falcon RV Squadron few over several metro Atlanta hospitals to draw hearts in the sky. [11 Alive]

• Taco Mac and SweetWater Brewing Company are celebrating the brewery’s signature 420 Extra Pale Ale with a 6 p.m. live chat hosted by Ale Sharpton. Register to watch for free here.