Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Wednesday, May 6

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

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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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