Coronavirus deaths in Georgia pass 5,000

Dr. Suman Jana (foreground) and other medical workers arrived for work at Grady hospital in downtown Atlanta on Aug. 13, a day after the State of Georgia reported more than 100 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths. The death rate has declined, but on Saturday, the Georgia Department of Public Health said the toll has now exceeded 5,000.  JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Dr. Suman Jana (foreground) and other medical workers arrived for work at Grady hospital in downtown Atlanta on Aug. 13, a day after the State of Georgia reported more than 100 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths. The death rate has declined, but on Saturday, the Georgia Department of Public Health said the toll has now exceeded 5,000. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

In the coronavirus pandemic that has stretched on for more than five months, Georgia hit a bleak milestone Saturday as the state’s official death toll passed 5,000.

In the 24 hours before its report, the state added 2,615 more confirmed cases, 200 hospitalizations and 95 deaths, bringing the toll to 5,092, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Nationally, more than 176,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to trackers at Johns Hopkins University.

ExploreTracking the pandemic: AJC Georgia COVID-19 dashboard

Georgia’s grim marker is just a number, but it’s a reminder of what is being lost as well as a call to action, said the Rev. Gerald Durley, pastor emeritus at Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta.

“When we see numbers – 4,000, 5,000 – what we have to do is go back to the individual lives, the individual people that we know and then maybe it can make some sense,” he said. “We need to put a face on the tragedy.”

The civil rights movement offered guidance in managing tragedy, Durley said.

“When America was at its strongest, we cared for each other,” he said. “We believed that if we came together and had one message, we could make a difference. We are responsible for each other.”

Behind the numbers are people suffering: The latest grim virus milestone should remind Americans of their mutual need, said the Rev. Gerald Durley.
Behind the numbers are people suffering: The latest grim virus milestone should remind Americans of their mutual need, said the Rev. Gerald Durley.

Credit: AJC file photo

Credit: AJC file photo

Georgia has had 252,222 confirmed cases of the disease, according to the state health agency. As of Saturday, 2,359 people were hospitalized in Georgia because of the virus.

The disease has killed more Georgians than any conditions other than heart disease and cancer, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, the virus has left many survivors with damage to kidneys, lungs, brain and heart.

ExploreComplete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia

Amid the somber numbers, some trends concerning the state of the pandemic in Georgia have improved in recent weeks. The seven-day average of new cases and hospitalizations have declined since the peak in mid-July.

Andrew Reisman, a family doctor in Gainesville and president of the Medical Association of Georgia, said the disease has been “a tremendous burden” on the practice of medicine, forcing doctors to spend time on safety that should be spent talking to patients.

The impact of the disease is not measurable only in tests, hospitalizations and death – months of quarantines and isolation also hurt people who are not infected, he said. “I have been treating more anxiety and depression.”

ExploreRemembering the victims: Stories of Georgians who died of COVID-19 causes

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The world hit a grim coronavirus milestone Saturday with 800,000 confirmed deaths and close to 23 million confirmed cases.

That’s according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Governments have been attempting to balance public health with economic health.

Officials believe the true numbers are higher because of a lack of testing and reporting. In the U.S., the nation with the most infections, health officials believe there may be 10 times more cases than the confirmed 5.6 million. The U.S. also leads the world in deaths, with more than 175,000.

- Associated Press

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