Atlanta, GA — An Emory health expert tweeted a warning Saturday to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp: If the governor doesn’t shut down the state, Georgia will reach the point of “no return” in the state’s ability to deal with the spread of the new coronavirus.
Dr. Carlos Del Rio is an expert in pandemics and chairs the global health department at Emory University. He works at the executive associate dean for Emory at Grady.
“We need @GovKemp to act now, the point of ‘no return’ for GA is rapidly closing. To prevent a catastrophe in the healthcare system due to #COVID19 we need for him to shut down GA now.”
Del Rio also shares a link to this work on COVIDActNow.org, predicting what he believes could happen if no action is taken. The website predicts that Tuesday will be the “point of no return” for Georgia when hospitals will be overwhelmed with positive cases of the coronavirus.
“We are in a critical time to make interventions and to try to contain the spread,” said Del Rio during a Facebook live Q&A. “And, if we don’t do them today, cases are going to continue to grow at a very rapid pace.”
He also recommended that Georgia should follow the French government’s methods.
“The French government has put the whole city of Paris in a lockdown for 45 days,” he said. “So, we need to do this. We should not wait until things have gone off the rails to do something.”
Kemp said Thursday at a news conference that he will not order a statewide quarantine because local governments have been taking the state’s advice.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office shared a statement with WXIA regarding Del Rio’s statements:
“We are working closely with federal, state, and local medical and emergency management officials to take appropriate action for our state. We will continue to operate with transparency and provide updates to the public on what we are doing to keep Georgians safe and healthy.”
Globally, more than 360,000 people have been infected and more than 15,400 people have died from the COVID-19 virus, Johns Hopkins reported as of midday Monday. Of that total, more than 81,400 confirmed cases are in China, while the entire United States has 35,500 confirmed cases as of midday Monday. There have been almost 480 deaths in the U.S., including 25 in Georgia, that have been tied to the virus outbreak.
By Andrea V. Watson, Patch Staff