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May 15, 2020

Evaluating the Reopening

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was vilified by the media, but the early results are promising.

The original stated goal of the coronavirus lockdown was to “flatten the curve” of infections so as to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. The goal was not to reduce COVID-19 deaths to zero. (Last we checked, preventing death entirely was above humans’ pay grade.) The corollary is something we’ve been among the few clearly stating: Reopening will likely yield more infections and deaths, but it’s something we must do to prevent worse consequences.

Leftmedia-driven panic moved the goalposts for reopening, and, thus, any governors who buck the new “wisdom” are vilified. Well, Republican governors are, anyway.

Georgia’s Brian Kemp became the leading villain, standing accused of running an “experiment in human sacrifice” and of having “blood on his hands” for beginning to reopen the state on April 24. (Remember, Kemp’s accusers are all supporters of Planned Parenthood.) Three weeks later, it’s still too early to definitively conclude much about Kemp’s move, but the news is positive. “Since May 1, the daily count of confirmed cases and deaths have dropped markedly,” reports The Washington Times. “As of Wednesday, the seven-day moving average of new cases was 242, down from 773 on April 29. The seven-day moving average of deaths was 12, down sharply from 34 on April 29, according to the state health department.” This is in part because the state’s businesses have been slow to reopen even though they’re permitted to do so.

Nevertheless, Atlanta-based media outlets joined the national press in driving down Kemp’s approval rating in the Peach State to negative territory.

Many other states are reopening and experiencing similar positive results — notably Texas and Florida. Even the hardest-hit states, like New York and New Jersey, are seeing trends leading to decisions to begin reopening. Few, if any, media outlets are charging those Democrat governors with human sacrifice, and Georgia resident Erick Erickson wants to know, “Where does Brian Kemp go to get his apology?

When considering the status of infections nationwide, it’s worth noting that the huge and terrifying death tolls are not as geographically widespread as people think. In fact, “The spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. has been extremely concentrated in a small number of states,” reports The Daily Signal. “Just 1% of all counties, representing 15% of the U.S. population, are responsible for almost half of the country’s COVID-19 cases and more than half of the deaths. Of those 30 counties, 24 are in the Northeast corridor between Philadelphia and Boston, the passageway served by a commuter railway system that runs through Manhattan.” Where does much of the national media reside? In that corridor.

Yet, the Signal concludes, “With many state and local governments starting to relax stay-at-home orders, it’s instructive to examine just how concentrated the spread of COVID-19 has been in the U.S.”

To reiterate, none of this is to minimize the suffering and death around the country, or to pretend that nothing bad will happen as a result of reopening. Lifting restrictions and beginning the return to normal won’t be cost-free. We do, however, aim to continue our mission to offer the kind of grounded, grassroots perspective that is sorely lacking in the elitist media echo chamber.

Update 5/19: “The Georgia Department of Public Health was forced to backtrack on Monday after a ‘data coding error’ led to an accidental uptick in the state’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases,” reports The Daily Wire, “and a subsequent correction caused charts on the department’s website to show a steep, nearly overnight decline.”

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