Athens, Ga., has turn out to be a spot that exemplifies the worst of public-policy resolution making in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, in keeping with one determine intently related to town.
Michael Stipe, lead singer with the legendary band REM, which he began in Athens, penned a scathing critique of Georgia’s dealing with of the disaster for the Guardian — and he didn’t maintain again:
‘Sadly, cities right here in Georgia had been quickly to face the burden of a few of America’s worst tendencies towards magical considering and ignorance of science, and essentially the most primary of illness prevention techniques.’
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was sluggish to implement security measures and fast to elevate them, and even positioned limits on what particular person cities may do to guard their very own residents, wrote Stipe.
In July, Kemp, a Republican, sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms after she mandated the sporting of face masks in public locations as she struggled to include the pandemic within the state capital.
He additionally signed an govt order that banned cities and counties from requiring face masks.
“Regardless of weak steps from state management, Athens was filled with good and cautious residents, and the group remained a lot decrease in case and dying metrics than different inhabitants facilities in Georgia all through the spring and summer time,” Stipe wrote.
That every one modified, nevertheless, upon the current return to the College of Georgia of hundreds of scholars, he wrote. Athens-Clarke County, a small metro space in a big state, now has the very best two-week whole of recent coronavirus instances of any of Georgia’s 159 counties, he wrote. The variety of COVID-19 deaths has greater than doubled in six weeks.
Stipe referred to as on Kemp to restrict bars to outside seating solely, noting that Georgia is the lone state within the southeastern U.S. that has not put any limits on bars in the course of the summer time. “They’re now full of college students, few in masks and none practising social distancing,” Stipe wrote.
He referred to as for gatherings to be additional restricted in dimension — with as much as 50 those that at present allowed — and mentioned school soccer video games must be performed with out followers in stadiums. Stipe additional argued for elevated testing and improved turnaround instances for check outcomes.
See:Coronavirus replace: World instances close to 30 million; Trump contradicts CDC head on vaccine timetable and once more derides face masks
“The College of Georgia has simply ramped as much as offering 450 voluntary exams of asymptomatic college students, school and workers every day, lower than 1% of the campus inhabitants,” he wrote. “This feels intentional. The fraternity and sorority homes appear purposely exempted from these exams.”
Georgia has given a lot to the world, Stipe wrote, citing as examples figures together with James Brown, the B-52s and rapper Infantile Gambino, aka Donald Glover, alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Stacey Abrams.
“Their dwelling and legacy and my base deserve a stronger stage of assist than this state and its key establishments have offered up to now,” mentioned Stipe.
The U.S. has the very best variety of confirmed instances of COVID-19 on the earth at 6.6 million, in keeping with information aggregated by Johns Hopkins College, and the very best dying toll at 196,842.
Extra musicians from the Key Phrases archives:
John Lennon typically didn’t like what he heard on Beatles data
Plus:Opinion: It was 50 years in the past at present … that the Beatles selected to not play