Georgia's and California's different COVID approaches yield unexpected outcomes

In some ways, it's unfair to compare California and Georgia, for they are remarkably different.  California's population is 39,512,223 with an average population density of 253.6 per square mile; Georgia's population is 10,617,423 with an average population density of 165 per square mile.  California's largest city, Los Angeles, has 3,990,456 people; Georgia's largest city, Atlanta, has 523,738 people.  Nevertheless, because I haven't forgotten April 21, when Dana Milbank, of the Washington Post, promised us that "Georgia leads the race to become America's No. 1 Death Destination," the two states deserve to be compared.

The occasion for Milbank's article was Governor Brian Kemp's decision to re-open his state in the last third of April.  For that sin, Milbank essentially consigned Kemp to the lowest circle of Hell:

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is proposing to offer a new nonstop service to the Great Beyond: He has a bold plan to turn his state into the place to die.

Kemp, a Republican and an ally of President Trump, just called for the reopening within days 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.

He's doing this even though the state ranks near last in testing, even though it's not clear that covid-19 cases are declining there, and even knowing "we're probably going to have to see our cases continue to go up," as Kemp himself said.

Public health experts fear coronavirus will burn through Georgia like nothing has since William Tecumseh Sherman. But Kemp is making a big gamble that his constituents wouldn't want to swab places with anyone, and that tourists will be dying to get to Georgia in any class of travel — economy, economy plus or intensive care — as the Peachtree State remakes itself as the Petri State.

It's obvious to even the meanest intelligence that Milbank is arguing that Trump is ordering his minions to kill Americans.  Milbank also seems to relish the thought.

That was 20 days ago, which is long enough time for a new cohort of people to have sickened with the Wuhan virus and for some of those sick people to die.  However, the opposite happened:

Moreover, balanced against those declining Wuhan virus numbers, one has to imagine the businesses that weren't destroyed, the people who didn't commit suicide, the children who didn't die from diseases that vaccinations could have prevented, and all the other bad stuff that didn't happen because of a continued lockdown and economic collapse.  Put another way, Georgia is currently experiencing a win-win situation.

Things aren't so wonderful in California.  There, Governor Gavin Newsom is reluctant to end the complete lockdown he imposed upon the entire state.  Even as increasingly restive citizens are staging impromptu protests throughout the state, Newsom is loath to let go.  The man who initially promised that the lockdown was going to last only as long as it took to "flatten the curve," so the medical system wouldn't be inundated by a rash of coronavirus cases, now has new goals:

"We're not going back to normal," said Newsom, who gave Tuesday's press briefing from the site of a Sacramento business called Display California. "It's a new normal with adaptations and modifications, until we get to immunity and a vaccine."

Notwithstanding the protests, most people in California seem willing to go along with the project.  Unfortunately for them, their lamb-like acquiescence is not paying off.  Instead, unlike the fancy-free Georgians and their declining infection rates, sequestered Californians are being promised even more Wuhan Virus infections and deaths:

California is one of a handful of states where coronavirus cases and deaths are going up more than researchers expected, according to the latest projections in a widely relied-upon model of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the institute's latest projections suggested the nationwide fatality count would reach 137,000 by Aug. 4. It stands now at nearly 80,000.


California added 2,244 coronavirus cases and 64 related deaths on Saturday for a total of 66,825 cases and 2,695 deaths. About 40% of the new cases — 907 — were reported by Los Angeles County, as were 45 of the new deaths, or about 70% of the statewide death toll.

I wouldn't dare to try to explain why Georgia, having mostly ended its lockdown, is thriving, while California, having hung on to its lockdown, is not.  Certainly, the difference in population density between the two states might be having an effect.  That can't be the only reason, though.  Perhaps Georgians are relying more on hydroxychloroquine than Californians.  As this video suggests, that could make a difference:

As much as I'm loath to accept anything from Al jazeera, the video segment about Senegal provides a lot of food for thought.