June 8, 2020
Open and Shut?
- The majority of Georgia cases have been found in four counties.
- Economically, this influx is a relief for locals who have been forced to tighten their belts in response to COVID-19.
- While we must hope that the optimists are right, we must be prepared to execute a more efficient response should there be significant changes for the worse anywhere.
Since the quarantine began, voices across the country have clamored for its repeal. Over the past month or so, states have begun testing the waters of re-opening. The majority have approached with cautious toes, but we have seen cannonballs as well. Today we will take a look at points of interest on the road to reopening for three of these states.
On April 2nd, Georgia enacted a shelter in place order. At that time, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the state was experiencing approximately 627 new cases per day. For slightly less than one month, Georgians stayed at home unable to patronize their favorite bars (or even their least favorite) or get their hair cut. On May 1st, the shelter in place order expired, although the order was extended for at-risk citizens. At this point, the number confirmed cases per day was 749. On May 14th, two weeks after reopening began, the daily average of new cases was 829.
The majority of Georgia cases have been found in four counties. Cobb county, with the lowest numbers of the top four, has to date, 3056 confirmed cases with 183 deaths and 678 hospitalizations. The county with the highest numbers is Fulton with 4638 confirmed cases. Fulton county is currently up to 242 deaths and 876 hospitalizations. It is worth noting that these counties are four of the top five in population density. Clayton County rounds out that list. Because of the lag time in reporting, the Georgia Department of Public Health is not considering the daily numbers complete until two weeks later. That means that at this time, numbers for days after the 19th of May should not be considered fully confirmed.
It has been just over a month since businesses began to reopen in Georgia. There was controversy surrounding the decision to begin reopening. Many felt it was too soon. However, there were those who had believed the order unnecessary to begin with.
In Alabama, the number of daily deaths climbed steadily between March 24th and May 12th. Between the 12th and the 28th, coronavirus deaths declined steadily from 13 to 8. Memorial Day was May 25th. While there are many ways to remember those who sacrificed for the good of the country, Alabama citizens found that one of the more popular was to visit their newly reopened beaches. Taking into account the incubation period, we have yet to see what effects the huge influx of visitors will have on residents of beach towns like Gulf Beach.
Economically, this influx is a relief for locals who have been forced to tighten their belts in response to COVID-19. Unfortunately, many tourists are being careless with their safety and the safety of others. Videos abound of vacationers clustered together, mask free, declaring themselves unconcerned about potential consequences. It will be interesting to see if there is a rebound in cases in the next week or so, and even more interesting to see where that happens. Tourists do return home, and they may bring back more than sand in their shoes.
Most of us are familiar with the adage, “Go big, or go home.” So is Texas. As of June 2nd, The Texas Department of State Health Services reports 66,568 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1698 deaths. This number may change as more information is reported for recent cases. Nevertheless, Texas is aggressively pursuing the good old days. Youth sports, schools, and youth camps have been allowed to reopen as of May 31st. There is no reason at this time to suspect these re-openings could have dire consequences. Children are known for nothing if not their strict adherence to hygiene, and observance of personal space.
Since the 18th of May, daycares have been allowed to operate. Bowling alleys, bars, and bingo halls have been allowed to open their doors since the 22nd. If you are part of the populace that finds these facts stressful, rest assured, you are entitled to go get a massage.
Because the highest spikes for Texas in both death due to the coronavirus and new cases have occurred in the past few days, it is hard not to wonder if some of the facilities recently re-opening were not allowed to do so prematurely. However, the damage has been done. While we must hope that the optimists are right, we must be prepared to execute a more efficient response should there be significant changes for the worse anywhere.
We do have to reopen in some way, at some point. Though it is important to remember that choices regarding re-opening should not be based on frustration, but on solid data-based plans that allow us to do so safely. Admittedly, this is more easily said than done, but difficulty should not equate dismissal. What are your thoughts? If you could reopen one business which would you choose?