Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order on Wednesday banning all cities and counties in the state from requiring people to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes as Georgia has experienced a steep rise in covid-19 infections over the past two weeks, with 3,871 new cases and 37 new deaths on Wednesday alone.
Strangely, the governor’s new executive order encourages people to wear masks, which help slow the spread of the virus, but bans any local municipality from actually requiring that people wear them when they’re out in public. The order also specifically exempts Georgia schools from bans on large gatherings.
Governor Kemp, a Republican, has been slow to understand the most basic facts about the pandemic since it began, and infamously didn’t know that asymptomatic transmission of the virus was possible until April 1, long after it was common knowledge in the public health community. Kemp closed down some businesses at the time, but the state opened back up after just three weeks and Georgians are now paying the price.
In early April, Georgia had identified just 4,748 identified cases and 154 deaths from covid-19. Today, the state has recorded 127,834 cases and 3,091 deaths total, well below the actual number of cases and deaths according to health experts. The U.S. currently has the worst outbreak in the world with over 3.49 million cases and more than 137,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.
Even more bizarrely, Kemp is trying to position his latest executive order as a win for public health.
“Today I issued Executive Order 07.15.20.01, which extends the gatherings ban of more than 50 people, renews business restrictions, protects the medically fragile, and strongly encourages Georgians to wear masks in public,” Kemp wrote in a Facebook post. “To flatten the curve, I urge all local elected officials to enforce the terms of this order. Together, we will keep fighting #COVID19, weather this storm, and emerge stronger than ever.”
Even Walmart has more common sense than a simple “strong encouragement” that everyone wear masks. The company announced on Wednesday that it would require all customers across the country to wear masks in an effort to keep both its workers and the general public safe during the pandemic. Walmart is even going to deploy what it calls “health ambassadors” in black polo shirts at the front of every store to enforce the mask requirement starting on Monday, July 20. The company didn’t use the term “mask bouncer,” but that’s precisely what they will be.
Kemp isn’t the only governor in the U.S. showing off his idiocy this week. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced on Wednesday that he’s tested positive for covid-19. Stitt said he was feeling fine but had been achy the day before and he only got the diagnosis because he’s tested routinely.
Governor Stitt famously attended President Donald Trump’s neo-fascist rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma without wearing a mask on June 20. Public health experts believe that rally was a major source of infection in the region, but it’s not clear whether Stitt was infected there or if he contracted the virus someplace else.
For all we know, Stitt could’ve been infected while going out to eat, something that he encouraged Oklahomans to do in mid-March while posting (and then deleting) a tweet of his family at a packed restaurant. One restaurant in Tulsa where Stitt dined last week has closed its doors temporarily yesterday after the governor made his covid diagnosis public.
Unsurprisingly, more people are being hospitalized across the country for covid-19, with Miami, Florida running out of ICU beds, Alabama hospitals running at near capacity with only 12% of the entire states’s ICU beds available, and doctors in Houston, Texas warning there’s “no end in sight” to the ICU shortage.
Georgia saw 417 new patients admitted to the hospital for the virus yesterday, bringing the number of people currently hospitalized with covid-19 in the state to 14,102. And if local governments aren’t able to require that people wear masks it’s only going to get worse out there.
Your government has failed you. There are plenty of anti-mask idiots in the world, even in countries like Taiwan and Hong Kong, but their respective governments haven’t simply given up on fixing the problem like the Trump regime apparently has.
“Personal responsibility” and wearing a mask may not pull the U.S. completely out of the pandemic—since every other country that suppressed the virus employed many other tools only available to governments—but masks are the only tool the average American has left.
Stay safe, friends. Or as safe as anyone can be during an uncontrolled pandemic.