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Across Georgia and the nation, schools and businesses are closed, major events have been canceled and millions of people have been ordered to work from home to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus — or COVID-19. Life as we know it has been disrupted. People are scared and looking for solid information.

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series “What You Need To Know: Coronavirus” provides fact-based information on getting through the virus with health and sanity intact. 

Jeanne Carere

Jeanne Carere isn't sure how her music store will stay in business. She owns Carere Music in Peachtree Corners and though she'd been thinking about moving lessons online anyway, the speed of the coronavirus outbreak rushed the decision.

The Georgia Department of Public Health

There are now 121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia as of noon Monday. The Georgia Department of Public Health is also reporting one death in the state.

Most of the confirmed cases are centralized in the metro Atlanta area, including 27 cases in Fulton County, 22 cases in Cobb County and 10 cases in DeKalb County. The disease is also reaching rural parts of the state, including southwest Georgia, where officials at Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany say there are eight confirmed cases.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger answered questions Monday about the now-postponed presidential primary, including the status of hundreds of thousands of ballots already cast.

In a live-streamed press conference, Raffensperger said that the rollout of the state’s new $104 million voting system was going well, but ultimately his office decided to delay in-person voting until the May 19 primary for state and federal offices as the threat of coronavirus spread continues to grow. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Georgia schools are suspending standardized, end-of-the-year testing in the face of the coronavirus threat.

The suspension not only affects the federally-mandated Georgia Milestones test, but also other end-of-grade tests as well as tests aimed at evaluating the efficacy of teacher staff.

Donna Lowry / GPB News

Monday on Political Rewind, it is the beginning of a weird week for Georgia, the rest of the country and the rest of the world. People everywhere are trying to adapt to this new public health crisis caused by the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2.

Our show this week will be a bit different than usual. In order to best protect our guests and our staff, host Bill Nigut and our guests will be calling into the show.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cases of COVID-19 are now emerging in Southwest Georgia, far from the state epicenter of the outbreak in metro Atlanta.  

Officials at Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany say they have seen eight confirmed cases of COVID-19. Five of those people are being treated in the main Albany hospital with the remaining three recovering in their homes.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Two weeks ago, I was planning a costumed watch party for the new Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries movie when it comes out on streaming March 23. That, obviously, is off. I’m doing my best to keep away from others to help slow down the spreading coronavirus, so I’m not hosting half a dozen people in my house.

Sue Sapp / U. S. Air Force

As many Georgians prepare to work and study from home as schools and offices close to prevent the spread of coronavirus, several companies are taking steps to make sure people are not left without the basics.

As of Saturday, Georgia Power will not disconnect residential customers who cannot pay their bill for the next 30 days.


David Goldman / AP

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a state of emergency Sunday as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia ticked to 99.  

The declaration bans gatherings of more than 250 people and gives Bottoms the authority to close roads, impose curfews and shut down businesses. 

Shortly after the mayor's announcement, the CDC updated its recommendations to limit gatherings to 50 people. The mayor later said she might revise her order. 

Blis Savidge / GPB News

The University of Georgia is collaborating with Rhode Island based company EpiVax to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

Director of the Center of Vaccine and Immunology Dr. Ted Ross will head up the project at his lab in Athens. He and his team have received the COVID-19 virus and are ready to begin their work in a high-security containment facility to produce and test a possible vaccine.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Georgia’s presidential primary will be postponed until May 19, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Saturday, in an effort to protect poll workers and voters traveling to the polls.

In a statement, the top election official said it was a decision to mitigate higher risk, especially since Georgia’s poll workers average 70-years-old.

GPB

Across Georgia and the nation, schools and businesses are closed, major events have been canceled, and millions of people have been ordered to work from home to help mitigate the spread of the Novel Coronavirus — or Covid -19. Life as we know it has been disrupted. People are scared and looking for solid information.

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series “What You Need To Know: Coronavirus” provides fact-based information on getting through the virus with health and sanity intact. 

Gov. Brian Kemp declares public health emergency at a press conference on March 14.
GPB News

The declaration is the first in Georgia history and comes after the largest increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a 24-hour period to date. Cases doubled overnight, Gov. Brian Kemp said Saturday.

The number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus has risen to 66, with one death. Stay up to date with the latest numbers here.

GOODR FACEBOOK

After Gov. Brian Kemp advised schools around the state to close for weeks due to COVID-19 concerns, nonprofits and Atlanta Public Schools collaborate to feed schoolchildren.

A person checks their temperature.
Polina Tankilevitch

Gov. Brian Kemp has announced the construction of a second quarantine space for patients who test positive for COVID-19 and are unable self-isolate.

The facility will be located at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center Campus in Monroe County and will be able to accommodate 20 temporary housing units, according to a press release from the governor's office.

GPB News Digital Manager Ellen Eldridge listens to President Donald Trump with headphones on while working from home Friday, March 13, 2020.
Meredith Eldridge

I honestly thought the kids would be thrilled. No school for two weeks and it’s not even vacation!

But my 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son have not been immune to the recent talk — everywhere — about coronavirus.

They both immediately started crying. Real tears.

At first, I wasn’t sure whether they were joking, but I quickly realized reality had hit them. School closing made the virus more real. Closer to home, literally.

  • Governor Kemp To Declare Public Health Emergency
  • Delta Airlines Reducing Flights By 40%
  • Children To Continue To Receive Meals From Schools During Closures


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp has declared Georgia will be under a state of public health emergency to aid in combatting coronavirus, effective Saturday, March, 14.

The unprecedented action will require a special session of the Georgia General Assembly to ratify the action Monday morning, and comes following President Trump's declaration of a national emergency.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

The social distancing advice around coronavirus that has stopped March Madness and closed theaters in the nation’s biggest cities has filtered down to festivals in the mid-sized cities and small towns of Georgia.  

The Forsythia Festival in Forsyth? Suspended. In Dublin in Laurens County, what is usually a whole month of St. Patrick’s Day festivities, including a parade, has been canceled. Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon? The same.  

In each case, organizers say it was simply the right decision to make to keep their communities safe.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The coronavirus pandemic has led to travel restrictions, canceled events, school closures, consumer panic, and mayhem in stock markets across the world.

The spiraling fears and slow access to tests for the virus in the U.S. have exposed weak points in government and health care systems, as well as the social fabric upon which we rely — especially for the most vulnerable. 


Courtesy of Yale University Press

Richard Hasen was worried about voting long before the Iowa caucuses — and before fears of coronavirus threatened to keep people away from primaries. 

As professor of election law at the University of California, Irvine, his concern is what undermines public trust in the fairness and accuracy of American elections. Hasen joined On Second Thought to discuss his new book, Election Meltdown, which digs into the factors that corrode public trust in elections. 

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Several bills relating to the regulation of coal ash in Georgia made it through crossover day in the Georgia legislature and may still become law. But those bills did not include the high profile “lined storage bills” supported by the people of Juliette who live next door to one of the largest coal-burning power plants in the country.

Response to the coronavirus pandemic has led to travel restrictions, canceled music festivals, school closures, consumer panic for basic needs like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and mayhem in stock markets across the world. The spiraling fears and slow access to tests for the virus in the U.S. have exposed weak points in government and healthcare systems, as well as the social fabric upon which we rely — especially for those most vulnerable. Dr. Keren Landman, a doctor, epidemiologist, and journalist, and Dr. Carlos del Rio, Chair of the Department of Global Health at Emory University, discuss how inequities in these systems play into the risks and outcomes of a global pandemic.

 

 


Andrew Harnik / AP

President Donald Trump will hold a press conference to address the spiraling coronavirus pandemic as he seeks to calm a panicked nation amid mixed messages and growing criticism of his administration's scattershot response.

Stephen Morton

Home septic systems are usually out of sight, out of mind. You don’t think about them until they back up in your yard or toilet.

 

But there can be problems long before that, and rising sea levels are making problems worse.

 

Some communities on the coast are trying to fix this.


Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters, one of the most important events in professional golf
Bret Lane / travelingmamas.com

The annual rite of spring for golf won't happen this year.

The Masters has been postponed until a later date. Augusta National did not indicate when the Masters would be played.

That means there will be no golf at least for the next month.

The Masters began in 1934 and only World War II has kept it from being played. This was the biggest shoe to drop for golf.

The PGA Tour already canceled the next three events leading up to the Masters.

Tiger Woods was to be going after his sixth green jacket.

Students on Georgia Tech's campus
Blis Savidge / GPB News

Friday on Political Rewind, COVID-19 continues to impact educational facilities, governance and large events.

Gov. Brian Kemp said school districts across the states are able to make their own decisions about closing in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and most metro area school districts announced closings effective Monday, March 16.


GPB Lawmakers

Georgia lawmakers are allowing Gov. Brian Kemp to spend $100 million to combat COVID-19.

The House and Senate voted Thursday for midyear budget adjustments that shift the money from Georgia's $2.8 billion in reserves to Kemp's emergency fund.

Josephine Bennett

When you work in the “news business” it can be extremely difficult to take time off. There’s hurricane season, election season, and now the coronavirus. Months can slip by as you wait for the “best time” to plan a vacation or a trip to see the people you love.

I had booked a trip to Connecticut to see my 95-year-old mom who is in a nursing home — before the pandemic.

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