Many states have been considering opening their states and lifting their stay-at-home orders. As of April 24, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp made the decision to being reopening the state. It first started with restaurants and hair salons, eventually moving to gyms and movie theaters. Kemp then made the ultimate decision to prematurely life the stay-at-home order on May 1st, when the state was scheduled for reopen on May 13th.
Incidence rates are based off the number of cases per 100,000 people. Georgia had been ranked as 16th worst state in risk of exposure to COVID-19, standing at an incidence rate of 180.7 as of April 16th, five days before Governor Kemp made the decision to being reopening. Since then, incidence rates have risen to 256.8, an increase of 42%.
The Center for Disease Control states that symptoms can start to show anywhere from 5 to 6 days after exposure within the incubation period. Based on this information, this can explain why there was a nearly 50% increase in incidence rates within 5 days of beginning to reopen the economy.
Given the data, Governor Kemp and other states should realize the dangers of premature opening of the economy as well as lifting their stay-at-home orders. With warm weather on the horizon, it may be harder to enforce social distancing, however it will be extremely necessary to contain the spread of the virus.
Georgia will continue to monitor the incidence rates over the next few weeks to clarify if the spike was truly due to premature opening by Governor Kemp.