On Tuesday, the state once again revamped it’s COVID-19 dashboard. Here’s your Wednesday morning update:
• As of publication time, a total of 48,207 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 2,102 people have died. 565,612 tests (virus and antibody) have been conducted. A total of 8,334 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]
• The state has once again revamped the data dashboard linked above, breaking down the numbers of virus and antibody tests in an easier-to-read format and noting the percentage of positive diagnoses from those tests. [GA Dept. of Public Health]
• At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Governor Brian Kemp urged police and protesters to get tested for COVID-19. State health commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said that she is working with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (who also said on Saturday that protesters should get tested for COVID-19) to set up pop-up testing sites for police and National Guard members. Per the AJC, Kemp also said at the press conference that there could be a temporary decrease in the amount of COVID-19 tests administered across the state because the National Guard was previously administering them.
When it comes to COVID-19, as experts interviewed by the AJC warned, we are not out of the woods yet. A professor at Georgia State’s School of Public Health, Dr. Harry J. Heiman, told the paper that there was still a “high level” of community spread and that “what we’ve seen is a lack of a sustained decline and a plateau at a level higher than we’d have expected to see if we’d maintained shelter-in-place and social distancing for a longer level of time.” Another expert noted that the current seven-day rolling average is higher now than in early April, when Kemp issued the shelter-in-place order. [AJC]
• It’s still unclear how much protesting will lead to higher COVID-19 spread, but according to 11 Alive, tear gas certainly isn’t helping. Tear gas makes you cough and sneeze, two actions known to increase the spread of the virus. 11 Alive spoke with a doctor who confirmed tear gas can increase the spread due to increased coughing, sneezing, shouting, and touching your face, which someone who has been tear gassed is likely to do. The physician recommended all protesters wear face masks, avoid touching their faces, use hand sanitizer, and get tested five days after protesting. [11 Alive]
• That hope that summer heat might weaken the coronavirus? Not likely, says the director of the National Institute of Health. The NIH director noted that in a blog post on Tuesday, saying that according to recent models, “climate only would become an important seasonal factor in controlling COVID-19 once a large proportion of people within a given community are immune or resistant to infection.” Meanwhile the World Health Organization debunked a claim that the virus was weakening, stating there’s no evidence anything has changed in terms of how contagious or severe the virus is. [AJC]