Kemp Keeping up with Covid

Georgia+Gov.+Brian+Kemp+Speaking%2C+Courtesy+of+AJC

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Speaking, Courtesy of AJC

Georgia’s Governor, Brian Kemp (R) is responsible for executive orders and pandemic decisions affecting all Georgia residents. He has faced criticism throughout the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic for his methods of controlling the pandemic. 

As one of the largest schools in the most populated district in Georgia, we have a large group to keep safe. It was reported that students who tested positive for corona have participated in school events. In order to lessen the pandemic’s effects, we must practice social distancing ourselves. Mistakes like these can occur when guidance and leadership are unclear about the expectations necessary to keep citizens, and students, safe.

With active cases growing through the district, and still high across the state, strong leadership is necessary to guide us during uncertain times. However, in an April poll conducted by Washington Post-Ipsos, only 39% of Georgian adults approve of Kemp’s Covid-19 response. Out of all the states surveyed, Kemp’s remained an outlier: it was the lowest approval rating, by nearly twenty points. 

The state has been under quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic since March. However, up until April of this year, Kemp did not even know that asymptomatic individuals were capable of spreading the virus- despite the fact that he was warned of this much earlier. Still, in mid-April, Kemp was the first governor to announce state reopening. The Washington Post- Ipsos poll also reported 65% of Georgians came to the consensus the state “lifted restrictions too quickly”.

Just last Monday, Governor Kemp extended the statewide public health state of emergency in Georgia from September 15 through October 10. As of this week, Kemp wants to block Georgians’ access to the ACA (Affordable Care Act) health insurance exchange, making them buy insurance on the private market. The act requires every Georgian to have a minimum amount of health insurance. 

About 460,000 Georgians have signed up for insurance under the ACA and if this act is blocked, up to 60,000 people could be without health insurance. Kemp’s reasoning for blocking the act is that the change would allow for more options for Georgians. Those who do not want robust plans can buy cheaper ones that don’t cover as much. However, this could end up in thousands losing health insurance, at a time it is needed the most. 

As the pandemic worsens, Parkview students are worried about their health. When asked about the issue, one student shares her beliefs. “Kemp’s illogical and uneducated handling of COVID puts every person in this state at an increased risk. He is the reason that Georgia sits at the top of the states in terms of number of cases and number of deaths. The down-playing of the virus is a dangerous game that results in unnecessary death.” She states, “I wish that we had a governor who genuinely cared about the people.” 

On the other hand, another student has claimed he is more neutral on the topic stating Kemp, “could have definitely handled coronavirus better and more proactively,” but that Georgians are also to blame. “Kemp has not forced or added any pressure for individuals to go out… to go back to school and has not forced businesses to reopen.” However, he believes “a mask mandate would’ve also benefited the state” because some “people are just genuinely ignorant and have no concern for those around them.”