News & Politics

Big Win for Governor Brian Kemp as Georgia COVID-19 Deaths Hit 3-Month Low

AP Photo/John Bazemore

In a bit of news you can file under “good,” Georgia’s COVID-19 deaths have reached a three-month low. I asked a while back when Governor Brian Kemp was going to get an apology from the media. This question was rhetorical, of course.

Georgia Reopens

One of the first movers to reopen the economy, Governor Kemp was attacked by the press and the Health Experts™ as reckless and incompetent. They were dishonest then, and they are dishonest now. No one said COVID-19 was going away. We needed to flatten the curve, and it would appear Georgia has been successful in doing so.

Since reopening on April 22, the 7-day rolling average of deaths due to COVID-19 has consistently declined, according to the state’s dashboard. The last average outside the 14-day window for reporting accuracy is 16.14 per day. This count is the lowest rolling average since March 29. Preliminary data shows continued declines despite reopening and protests that began a month ago.

While we know deaths lag the confirmed cases by between two to three weeks, Georgia’s uptick in daily cases started around May 18. That date is a full month before the 14-day window cutoff of June 18. Part of the reason may be that the age range with the highest total cases is 18-29, where the risk of death is very low. The majority of confirmed cases are under 50 years of age.

It would seem Georgia has done a reasonably good job of protecting the vulnerable and allowing the young and healthy to go about their business. On June 30, Governor Kemp signed a bill strengthening nursing home guidelines, which included protections related to COVID-19.

Kemp Encourages Good Behavior

While Governor Kemp has not signed an executive order requiring masks in public, he has gone on a statewide tour with the surgeon general to encourage masks, social distancing, and other prevention behaviors.

Reduce COVID-19 Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations have been creeping up, but continued declining death rates may indicate people are not becoming as severely ill. Still, lower hospitalization rates would be ideal. Now I would like to see Governor Kemp have the political will to challenge state-level health experts to look at the research of Dr. Harvey Risch of Yale and Dr. Vladimir Zelenko regarding hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc.

These doctors assert that the reductions in hospitalization rates when these drugs are used in the outpatient setting are too large to be explained as an anomaly. Out of over 2,200 patients in high-risk groups treated by Dr. Zelenko, two died. One had late-stage leukemia, and the other was very elderly. Dr. Risch notes similar results in clinical trials in the U.S. to date and those that have been conducted abroad.

Just as important, his data shows an 84% reduction in hospitalizations compared to the general at-risk population. A query of a WhatsApp group of approximately 3,000 doctors using the drug combination reported no cases of heart arrhythmia in the outpatient setting. That media boogeyman needs to stop.

Dr. Zelenko’s study is in the process of peer review and publication, while Dr. Risch’s paper has already been published. Governor Kemp has taken enough media trashing regarding his reopening plan that I believe he can be a first-mover in challenging the politicization of these medications. Letting his health experts provide doctors with peer-reviewed information and permission to use these medications in combination would allow them to do so without fear of retribution.

The Kids Are Alright

Then I would like Governor Kemp to be a first-mover in encouraging statewide school reopenings with minimal restriction on children. Dutch researchers have conclusive data that disease transmission from a child to an adult is extremely rare.

Most cases in schools and daycare centers are from adult to adult or adult to child. If the risk to children is nearly zero, and we have an effective outpatient treatment doctors may freely prescribe, the new normal looks a lot like the old normal.

The media would like you to believe that rising total case numbers are a crisis of monumental proportions requiring us all to go back indoors. Oddly, it seems when people go indoors, case numbers rise. So I am fully supportive of Governor Kemp’s decision to stay open and hope he takes a look at improving results with effective outpatient treatment and getting kids back to school.

The panic porn needs to end. With a few bold moves, Georgia could help end it.