Editorial

The political armchair quarterbacks have been lobbing Hail Mary passes all week; it’s always easy to criticize the person making the call.

To stick with that analogy we’re piling on the tackle this time, because to some degree they’re right.

There are a lot of personal reasons to reopen businesses — people are hurting financially, they’re ready to get back to work, allowing business owners a degree of personal responsibility.

There were a lot of political reasons to reopen businesses. That is until a Wednesday night interview in which President Trump said he disagreed with Gov. Brian Kemp’s move. Prior to that he had applied pressure to governors across the country to reopen for business.

Then there are the economic reasons. We’re going to likely see a pretty big hit locally and statewide concerning the shutdown.

Noted.

The governor’s statement that the decision wasn’t influenced by any politics fell flat. He may have made the decision based on some information he’s chosen not to release to the public, but without that golden nugget of knowledge it sure looks like a politically motivated decision.

Local control is generally preferred and in the advent of an emergency, a well-functioning local government (like the ones we have here) can adapt to a rapidly changing situation faster than the state.

If possible, the governor should have established a baseline and allowed local governments to be able to increase measures as they see fit. Are there potential problems with that possible solution? Sure, as with any possible solution there are potential issues.

Regardless, we should have stayed the course for a shutdown, for the sake of the lives of our neighbors and loved ones. We’re not trying to overemphasize the facts here.

According to our most recent numbers, approximately 4% of Georgians who get this disease have died from it. When looking at it like a percentage that number seems low.

Here’s another one — over 800 deaths have been directly attributed to COVID-19 in the past month.

Over 800 deaths in one month (and that’s rounding down). When we entered the month of April there had been 28 deaths statewide and as we exit we’ve hit that very high number. The thing is, without the measures enacted by our local governments and the state, that number could have been much higher.

Hopefully that number will continue to taper off, and possibly already has, but we’re beginning the process of reopening the state when the measures we took as a state are beginning to bear fruit.

It’s just too soon.

The disease caused by the new coronavirus spread like wildfire across the state in the past two months. Looking at a map documenting the spread of the infection provided by the Department of Public Health, we were next to Northwest Georgia’s epicenter, Bartow County, at the beginning of documented cases.

All that said, it is important to recognize there are a lot of people out of work here. While the most recent unemployment numbers for Floyd County only show the rate increasing less than 1%, last week we saw initial claims bound over 900%. Statewide, approximately 250,000 Georgians filed for unemployment last week.

Why, you ask? It appears the overwhelming number of claims filed in March may have been partial claims filed by employers for workers who have been temporarily laid off. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense.

But we are where we are, and it only makes sense at this point to move forward.

So here it goes. All we can do is to promote personal responsibility. We’re all at high risk for catching COVID-19 because we don’t have any natural immune responses, but only a percentage of our population is at high risk for death because of an infection.

We need to protect them and that should be our priority.

So if you’re in that percentage of the population who is at risk, maybe it’s not the best time to get a haircut or get your nails done. Everyone please use personal responsibility when making decisions about going out for the time being.

We’re still going to be at risk for some time now, and until there is a medical breakthrough concerning the treatment or vaccination regarding COVID-19 we need to be cognizant of the risk.

We’ll likely see how we work and interact changed for some time because of this situation and we just have to adapt until things return to a form of normalcy.

Thank you for reading and supporting local journalism.

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