ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With new reported cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations now on the rise again in Georgia, GeorgiaALIVE is endorsing a statewide policy requiring the use of masks and face coverings while in public.
New reported cases of COVID-19 provided daily by the Georgia Department of Health have risen 55 percent in the past week alone (7-day average), while at the same time COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 44 percent from their low point on June 7 (1,123 on June 23 vs. 783 on June 7). The three highest days of new reported cases in Georgia have all come within the past week, with Saturday, June 20 as a record day with more than 1,800 new reported cases. COVID-19 deaths in the state have been trending generally flat to down during June as younger people now make up a larger percentage of the new infections, however many experts believe it's just a matter of time before the virus spreads from the younger population to the older, more vulnerable who are at much higher risk of dying.
At least 16 other states have already instituted mandatory public mask policies to slow the spread of the virus. The CDC and the World Health Organization recommend mask wearing as a proven health measure to slow down the rate of infections. "The science is very clear. The widespread wearing of masks is a proven way to slow the spread of the virus," said Deborah Bruner, RN, PhD, FAAN and Senior Vice President for Research, Emory University and GeorgiaALIVE steering committee member.
"There should not be a political divide on this issue. The trends in Georgia are not good right now. The widespread wearing of masks can not only save lives, but can buy us time to keep businesses open and the economy running while we wait on a vaccine or other effective anti-viral treatments. A good statewide mask policy is the most pro-business step we can take for Georgia,” shared Ed Trimble, GeorgiaALIVE Founder and CEO.
Governor Kemp has continued to open up the state even in the face of rising infections and increasing numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations. On June 11 the governor signed an executive order that eliminated limits on dine-in restaurant customers, while also allowing for conventions and live performances to resume. "I applaud the Governor for modeling wearing a mask in public and I understand his resistance to mandating that Georgia citizens wear masks," Trimble added. "But, we are on a bad trajectory right now with cases and hospitalizations rising rapidly, and with back-to-school and fall weather just on the horizon. We need to get this virus under control and our rate of infection down now or we could be facing a catastrophic second shutdown later in the year. We need our Governor to demonstrate real leadership with a statewide policy requiring Georgians to wear masks when outside the home and in high-risk situations. While it will cause some inconvenience today, it will save us a lot of pain in the future."
States that have instituted some form of mandated public mask wearing include California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington.
GeorgiaALIVE, a Georgia corporation with pending nonprofit status, was initially formed out of an effort to track the spread of the novel coronavirus and associated COVID-19 disease across the U.S. and specifically within the state of Georgia. With a dual mission of saving Georgia lives while supporting the safe and full reopening of the state’s economy, the organization fights the coronavirus pandemic through initiatives that inform, educate and provide access to critical resources to Georgia citizens and businesses. GeorgiaALIVE has quickly become a central source for all coronavirus-related information in Georgia, including PPE and resource access, best safety practices for daily life, safety guidelines for the workplace.
For more information, visit GeorgiaALIVE.com.