What On Earth Is the Governor of Georgia Talking About?

Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/ZUMA

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

On Wednesday, Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp issued a stay-at-home order, effective Friday, in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Some parts of Georgia were already under such orders, thanks to local officials, and other parts of the country had begun taking such steps weeks earlier.

Kemp, like a number of other Trump-friendly Republican governors, had put off the inevitable for days. Why now? He’d just found out “that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs,” Kemp explained. “What we’ve been telling people from directives from the CDC for weeks now that if you start feeling bad stay home—those individuals could have been infecting people before they even felt bad. Well we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours.”

I’m sorry, what? What on Earth?

It’s true that, this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that as many as 25 percent of people carrying the virus might be asymptomatic. That’s a new and ominous chunk of data supporting the idea that you can still transmit the virus even if you don’t feel sick. But it’s not a new idea. People have been talking about asymptomatic people transmitting coronavirus for a long time now.

“Infected people without symptoms might be driving the spread of Coronavirus more than we realized,” blared one CNN headline on March 19th, exactly 14 days ago.

“Coronavirus spreads quickly and sometimes before people have symptoms, study finds”—that was Science Daily on March 16, reporting on a study from the University of Texas.

On March 5, a group of German doctors reported to the New England Journal of Medicine “a case of 2019-nCoV infection acquired outside Asia in which transmission appears to have occurred during the incubation period in the index patient”—an asymptomatic transmission.

I mean, we know all of this. How come Brian Kemp didn’t?

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate