Dr Sanjay Gupta on Reopening Georgia: ‘It’s a Bad Idea’

Dr Sanjay Gupta on Reopening Georgia: ‘It’s a Bad Idea’


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Dr Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s longtime medical correspondent, is among those voicing concern over Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to begin to begin reopening the state within days.

Kemp, a Republican ally of Donald Trump, has called for a quick reopening of his state’s gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body-art studios, barbers, nail salons, cosmetologists, aestheticians, beauty schools, massage therapists, theaters, private social clubs and dine-in restaurants.

This, despite Kemp acknowledging that, in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, “we’re probably going to have to see our cases continue to go up.”

Georgia’s had 20740 cases of COVID-19, including 836 deaths, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Trump has long been pushing to lift the extreme lockdown conditions in place over most of the United States, even in the face of continuing spread of the novel coronavirus.

Trump, in fact, has stoked protests of state government lockdowns via Twitter, telling protesters to “liberate” their states.

Dr Gupta commented on Kemp’s decision during an appearance with CNN host Chris Cuomo, who himself recently battled the disease himself.

“Chris, and I don’t want to equivocate or waffle on this. I mean, we closed late. We might be opening early and they’re both problems. I mean, we are clear that the virus is still out there. We are clear that we are not ready. It is clear what the guidelines are and that we haven’t met them, and it’s also clear that a lot of people, Chris, are frightened about this,” said Dr Gupta.

CNN’s own headquarters are based in Atlanta, Ga.

“They’re frightened to go out. So you open up businesses but people are not likely to go. Is that doorknob safe? Did that person get tested? Has this person been sterilized? What about the ventilation? All the questions coming up because they’re understandably worried. People are worried that, look, even if I stay healthy, what if I take it and get somebody else sick,” Dr Gupta added. “I would feel awful about that. I would feel terrible if that happened. That’s the sort of decisions being forced right now in the state. I find it hard to be charitable about this.

“I understand the governor has pressure on him from small businesses, although who’s going to be going to these small businesses? This is a proposition where you’re starting to run into almost all risk and almost no reward. It’s a bad idea,” Dr Gupta said. “Every public health official in the country has said so. Ambassador [Deborah] Birx, [the White House coronavirus response coordinator] she is very polite, she said, ‘We put out guidelines,’ trying to put out the clearest data possible. There are outbreaks happening. I don’t know how you can cut somebody’s hair and physically distance.”

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