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Atlanta Mayor Admits Georgia Reopening Was ‘Not As Bad As I Thought That It Would Be’

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The Atlanta mayor who criticized Georgia Gov. Brian Kemps’ decision to reopen the state last month said Monday that the results were “not as bad” as she first anticipated.

Appearing on MSNBC to discuss the coronavirus outbreak in Georgia, Mayor Keisha Bottoms acknowledged that reopening the state’s economy has not lead to the results she initially expected. However, the Democratic mayor of Atlanta said it was still too soon to make a final conclusion.

“It’s not as bad as I thought that it would be, so I am pleased about that,” Bottoms said Monday when host Brian Williams asked about her past criticism of Georgia’s reopening.

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“But I still think it’s too soon to say — the reason being, whereas initially we were seeing increases between deaths and people testing positive, rising anywhere from 25 to 30% over a seven-day period. Right now we’re somewhere between 12 and 15%. So it’s better than it was, but still not great,” Bottoms said.

“We’ve still not seen that 14-day decline, as recommended by the CDC, so we’re not quite there where I can say that we are out of the woods, because we are not. Because what we know as we reopen this state, we’ll also see whether or not this impacts our number of people who are testing positive,” Bottoms continued. (RELATED: Atlanta Mayor Lays Blame On White House For Ahmaud Arbery Shooting)

Under Kemp’s direction, Georgia became one of the first states in the U.S. to begin reopening its economy in late April. The decision attracted criticism from many Democrats and members of the media, and even earned a rebuke from President Donald Trump.

One of Kemp’s biggest detractors at the time was Bottoms. On April 30, the Democratic mayor published an op-ed on the Atlantic, railing Kemp’s decision to reopen. In the article, Bottoms said the move was “irresponsible and could even be deadly” and suggested that the state’s hospitals could be stretched to capacity.

The hospitals in Georgia have not been overwhelmed, and hospitalizations of patients with the novel coronavirus have fallen in recent weeks.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, analyzing data from the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency, reported on Tuesday that statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 fell by roughly a third in the last two weeks.

“We are seeing a steady decrease in both the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients (986) and the percentage of Georgians testing positive for the virus (10.5%),” Kemp’s official Facebook page wrote on Tuesday. “Stay vigilant and let’s win this war!”

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