The Jolt: Sarah Riggs Amico and her COVID-19 testimonial

Infectious disease specialists are advising us to celebrate the Fourth of July from a distance, and in small groups. Gov. Brian Kemp Is warning that college football Saturdays could depend on how we behave ourselves this weekend.

Pandemic specialists at Emory University want the governor to do more than Issue threats. They want Kemp to make the wearing of masks mandatory.

But there is nothing like a personal testimonial to bring reality home.

We had been wondering why we hadn't heard from Sarah Riggs Amico since her third-place finish in last month’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. It wasn't the sting of defeat that silenced her.

On Wednesday, in a string of Twitter messages, Amico Let it be known that she was just coming out of a COVID-19 fog:

"I'll start by saying that our family has been diligent in observing Georgia's previous shelter-in-place order and social distancing as #COVID19 spread. When we could finally leave the house, I wore a mask >90-95% of the time. But masks work best when EVERYONE wears them…

"My symptoms started with fatigue & awful headaches for 2-3 days. Then, I had what I thought was 'food poisoning'. The next morning I had a terrible sore throat & painful body aches. I still had no idea I had #coronavirus…

"Nearly a week into my symptoms, my body aches worsened & I started to cough. I still didn't have a fever, but booked a #Covid_19 test because my parents (mid-60s) were visiting us. By the time I arrived at the testing site a few hours later, I could barely stand & had a fever…

"The worst part of #COVID19 was my 9 year old asking me what will happen if I die. We talked about faith, heaven & death (+ her concerns re stepmoms). We agreed Plan A is mommy gets better. She knows I'll probably be fine, but it was an unexpected & jarring conversation…

"My #coronavirus test results ultimately came back positive. Unfortunately, it appears both my parents have #COVID as well. For anyone who thinks the virus has gone away, I can assure you it has not. While I've seen some improvement over the last two weeks, I'm far from well…

"I'm still coughing, exhausted & can't taste anything (weirdest #COVID symptom), but I'm grateful my fever's gone, body aches are improving & I'm quarantining at home."

So now many of you can, in fact, say that you know someone who has contracted the coronavirus. Wear your mask.

We won't insist that you do the right thing for the right reason. If you won't wear it for your parents or grandparents, or the nurse down the block, then do it for college football.

But do it.


Several groups, including the ACLU of Georgia, have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill And his subordinates or disregarding the risk of COVID-19 When it comes to inmates in the county jail.

The facility has nearly 2,000 detainees. As of June 11, 45 people at the jail had tested positive for COVID-19 -- 32 detainees and 13 staff members.


President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the entire military spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, because it includes a provision requiring military bases named after Confederate leaders to be renamed.

In Georgia, that would affect Fort Gordon in Augusta and Fort Benning near Columbus. The Senate Armed Services Committee, which includes Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue, added the renaming amendment after it was proposed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The House version of the NDAA has similar language.

Trump's threat, via a tweet, appears to have at least slowed down the bill in the Senate. Even though members have signed off on moving to a floor vote, days have passed without any action.

It would take 60 senators to water down Warren’s amendment — Republican Josh Hawley of Missouri has a proposal to do it — which means at least some Democrats would need to support the change. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said his caucus is united in favor of requiring Confederate names to be removed from U.S. bases. The sentiment is even stronger in the House, where Democrats have the majority.

Both Republicans and Democrats have also cast doubt on whether Trump would actually veto a bill that contains raises for soldiers and support for the Pentagon over this single issue.

Keep your eye on this. A vote in either direction could have significant electoral implications in Georgia -- not just for Perdue, but for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, too.


Once the fireworks are over, you're likely to see general election campaigns begin in earnest. For instance, U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler next Wednesday will begin a statewide tour of 14 counties.

The Republican will start in Cherokee County and swing through parts of metro Atlanta, southeast Georgia, west Georgia and the northern half of the state over the following days.


U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath and GOP challenger Karen Handel are engaged in yet another dust-up -- this one fueled by a secretly recorded video taken last weekend by a tracker who slipped inside the Trump Victory office opening.

A woman chatting with Handel said that McBath isn’t the only person with a “tragic story” and “needs to get off of it.” As she spoke, the Sixth District candidate interjected.

"Exactly, exactly — that's right," Handel said. "In Congress, you have to be able to look at issues beyond just your person."

We know that McBath’s “tragic story” is the murder of her son Jordan Davis, and that it led her to become a gun control activist and ultimately put her on a path to Congress.

McBath and her supporters say Handel crossed a line by implying all the incumbent Democrat cares about in Washington is avenging Jordan’s death.

“After the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, I made the decision to run for office because our legislators were not doing enough to keep our families safe,” McBath said in a statement.

Handel’s team, in response, said that Handel does believe McBath is a “one-issue candidate” — gun control — but added that the Republican has also expressed “great sympathy and compassion” for McBath’s loss.

“McBath’s attempt to deflect from that truth with her outrageous suggestion is beyond cynical and offensive,” Handel’s campaign manager said.


In endorsement news:

-- U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall has endorsed Republican Rich McCormick in the race that will determine who will be his congressional successor in the Seventh District. Woodall had remained neutral in the seven-way GOP primary. McCormick faces Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux in November.

-- U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, has endorsed John Cowan in the GOP runoff in the 14th Congressional District. Roe is co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, and Cowan is a neurosurgeon. Cowan faces Marjorie Taylor Greene on Aug. 11.


An interesting use of earned media: U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, is featured in a public service announcement that will appear on the Weather Channel, urging viewers to prepare now for a hurricane season that's likely to peak in September. The ad targeting Georgians will air throughout the summer.


Your insiders are taking Friday off for the Fourth of July holiday. The Jolt will return Monday morning.