Georgia Officials Watch Coronavirus Infection Data After Reopening

Public health officials say it is too soon to determine whether reopening in several states will mean a rise in cases

A shopper entered the reopened Anderson Mall in Anderson, S.C., on April 24.

Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg News

香蕉视频苹果下载A week into the most ambitious reopening in the U.S., Georgia officials are watching coronavirus infection rates for any aftershocks from lifting restrictions.

Epidemiologists warned it was too soon to tell. The virus can incubate for two weeks before symptoms appear, and then it can take longer for tests to be taken and results reported.

香蕉视频苹果下载The state reported 1,000 new cases in 24 hours Friday, which was a jump from previous days, according to Department of Public Health data. The state attributed that to a doubling of testing in the past week.

“When you test more, you’re going to have more cases,” said Cody Hall, spokesman for Gov. Brian Kemp.


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Mr. Kemp, a Republican, took further steps this week to open the state, citing the need to rebuild the economy. He lifted his stay-at-home order for most Georgians starting Friday, while urging residents to limit their trips and continue social distancing. “The fight is far from over,” he said Thursday.

After 20,000 tests were conducted Thursday, the state averaged 16% positive with the virus, compared with the state’s previous average of 20% positive tests, Mr. Hall said. The state has more than 27,000 confirmed cases as of Friday, and a reported death toll of 1,162.

香蕉视频苹果下载Total case count is one of multiple data points that officials track to determine progress in the pandemic fight. They also look for decreases in hospitalizations and intensive-care admissions.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to open some nonessential businesses this week was embraced by some while drawing protests from others. WSJ’s Cameron McWhirter reports from on the ground near Atlanta as business owners weigh saving their businesses and safety concerns. Photo: Ron Harris/AP

by an independent data scientist linked to on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website showed that coronavirus deaths in Georgia could double by the summer as the state continues to ease social-distancing guidelines. Three counties in the southwestern part of the state already have some of the highest per capita rates of infection in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Kemp allowed businesses such as hair salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys to open their doors on April 24. Restaurants and theaters were allowed to reopen Monday. Some mayors objected, and schools throughout the state remain closed.

Officials weighing whether to reopen should have robust testing in place to react swiftly to a possible surge, said Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

香蕉视频苹果下载“I think returning to normal anywhere would risk a surge,” Mr. Hanage said. “It might be slower than the first surge and it might take a while, but you will want to be looking out for it,” and take action quickly.

A server took a customer’s order at a restaurant in Oklahoma City on Friday.

Photo: Nick Oxford/Bloomberg News

香蕉视频苹果下载Georgia ranks 34th among states and Washington, D.C., in per capita testing, with about 11,300 tests conducted for every one million people, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

In Alaska, which also began allowing businesses to reopen on April 24, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy told reporters this week that he expected the easing of restrictions to cause a rise in infections and deaths.

“It looks more and more like it’s going to be incorporated into our daily life, our society,” he said, urging Alaskans to continue to adhere to social-distancing guidelines, such as avoiding large groups.

The reopening’s monthlong trial phase will be re-evaluated on May 20, and Mr. Dunleavy said the state would be closely watching the numbers, such as hospital beds and infections.

香蕉视频苹果下载Alaska recorded no new infections on Friday, with daily new cases hovering in the single digits over the past two weeks. The state has recorded a total of 355 positive cases and nine deaths.

香蕉视频苹果下载 South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster started easing restrictions on April 20, allowing department stores and markets to reopen as long as they adhere to strict social-distancing guidelines, such as limiting occupancy to 20%. Restaurants, salons and gyms remain closed.

South Carolina has recorded more than 6,000 cases and 232 deaths. On Thursday, it reported 123 new infections, the highest figure this week. It ranks near the bottom in terms of per capita testing, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

香蕉视频苹果下载South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control has projected the total number of infections could rise to over 9,000 by May 16.

Mr. McMaster’s office declined to comment on the uptick. It said the governor, a Republican, would work with experts to determine how to continue to loosen restrictions.

Write to Sabrina Siddiqui at and Jessica Donati at

Corrections & Amplifications
香蕉视频苹果下载 After 20,000 additional Covid-19 tests were conducted Thursday in Georgia, the state’s overall average was 16% positive test results, compared with the state’s previous average of 20% positive tests, according to the governor’s spokesman. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said 16% of the 20,000 tests conducted Thursday came back positive, compared with the previous days’ 20%. (Corrected on May 3, 2020)

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