“NBC Nightly News” aired a segment over the weekend analyzing Georgia’s much-criticized reopening a month after the fact.
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s April decision to reopen as well as include gyms and salons in the mix was met with criticism from a wide range of figures. President Donald Trump said he “disagreed” with the decision, and a number of Democrats and media figures predicted a surge of new cases and deaths.
Presented by weekend anchor Jose Diaz-Balart and reporter Blayne Alexander, the Saturday evening “NBC Nightly News” segment featured an interview with a Georgia barbershop owner and an analysis of new coronavirus cases before and after the reopening.
“When Georgia became one of the first states to reopen back in April many said it was too much too soon, predicting a new surge in coronavirus cases,” said Diaz-Balart, introducing the segment. “Now, exactly four weeks later, Blayne Alexander reports on whether Georgia’s gamble paid off.”
Alexander interviewed Tony, a barbershop owner who “had plenty of concerns” a month ago, but now considers it “worth it” because he and his barbers “all have families to support.”
“One month later, here’s what Georgia looks like today,” Alexander said, narrating a graph tracking Georgia’s new coronavirus cases. “These are new cases before and after the state’s reopening. Looking at a three-day average, there is no steady trend up or down. So far, no major spike in cases, as some predicted.
“These are new hospitalizations before and after,” Alexander continued as the data in the graph on-screen shifted first to a breakdown of Georgia’s new hospitalizations and then to new deaths. “Same with new deaths, though the number has fluctuated.”
NBC medical contributor Dr. Vin Gupta called the signs “encouraging,” noting that emergency rooms have not been “overwhelmed.” (RELATED: ‘China Won’: Tucker Carlson Details ‘Uncomfortable Facts’ About Coronavirus Response In 15-Minute Opening Monologue)
The outlet did call the released Georgia testing and case numbers “confusing,” but aired Dr. Justin Schrager, an emergency room doctor working on the front lines of the pandemic, who said he is “cautiously optimistic.”
The Georgia Health Department hospitalization rates may actually be higher than reported. The state “only counts those who tested positive when they were in the hospital,” Alexander said. “If you test positive one day, and go back to the hospital several days later, that does not count in the state’s total.”