COVID-19 jumps in coastal Georgia as summer begins, safety precautions decline

Chatham County, home to Savannah, Tybee Island and many other popular coastal Georgia attractions, has seen a jump in the number of coronavirus cases reported.

A 700-case jump came between April 29 and the present, a time during which coastal beaches were flooded with Memorial Day revelers and protests over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

"In fact, in 24 hours from yesterday morning to [Friday] morning, we've had one of our largest single-day numbers of reported cases in our district and in Chatham County," Dr. Lawton Davis, director of the Coastal Health District, told WSAV.

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But Davis said one day doesn’t mean it’s a trend. He told the station another week is needed “before we can really gauge the impact.

“The good news is we’ve had low rates of infection, low numbers of cases and relatively few deaths compared to other areas of the state,” Davis said. “The bad news is on the flip side of that, is there are a lot of people out there who have not yet been exposed.”

As all 50 states are now reopening their economies, the coronavirus pandemic continues as the U.S. total cases has now surpassed more than 2 million.

According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, there have been 2,023,347 COVID-19 cases and 113,820 reported deaths due to the virus in the U.S. as Friday morning.

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The number of new coronavirus cases has seen an uptick worldwide. According to a New York Times analysis, cases have increased in the last 14 days in states including Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Missouri and California.

In at least 12 states and Puerto Rico, the cases have reached their highest seven-day rate since the outbreak began, according to The Washington Post. In Texas, North and South Carolina, California, Oregon, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona, an increasing number of patients are under supervised care since the holiday weekend because of COVID-19 infections. The spikes generally began in the past few weeks and in most states are trending higher.

“If we relax our standards too much, we could be setting ourselves up for a resurgence of community transmission,” Davis said of what’s known as a “second wave.”

Neighboring South Carolina also has seen a rise in numbers, WSAV reported.

“What [South Carolina state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell is] seeing is what we are all seeing ... that people are tired of wearing a mask, tired of social distancing standards,” he said. “People are ready to get on with their lives, and I understand that.”

More than 7.1 million have been diagnosed with the virus across the globe, with more than 405,000 fatalities. Those numbers are likely higher than what is officially reported, according to several reports.