Georgia is familiar with the risk associated with natural disasters. About two weeks ago, a string of tornadoes passed through the state causing multiple fatalities and significant property damage. We understand that when a tornado has passed on in a fast-moving storm front, the danger has passed. But this is not how it works for a respiratory virus spreading in an immunologically naive population.
Right now, the vast majority of us remain susceptible to COVID-19. That means we can be infected, potentially severely or even fatally, and infect others, who themselves may be severely or fatally infected. If we move back towards business as usual (or an approximation thereof), we will, in effect, pull the tornado back towards us. Cases will go up, and soon thereafter hospitalizations and deaths. The effects will fall disproportionately on low-income workers, those unable to work from home, those with limited access to health services, the elderly, and those with pre-existing co-morbidities.