Gov. Brian Kemp was clear this week about the coronavirus outbreak and its threat to the safety of Georgians.
Wednesday, hours after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, the governor said it was “an immediate and unforeseen threat to the state.” He moved to tap the state’s rainy day fund of $100 million cash — a move legislators should approve with due haste.
People can say this is an overblown threat, and the product of a desire to affect the year’s elections. But this is a real danger, especially to the most vulnerable people in our population.
The elderly and otherwise ill are at risk. Our previously healthy economy is too, with the stock market entering bear territory after more than a decade of a bull market.
And all of Walton County took notice Monday when Kemp announced a portion of Hard Labor Creek State Park — just over the line in northern Morgan County — was being prepared to house patients. (The first arrived late Tuesday, a Cherokee County resident who is sick and unable to be contained at home, but not ill enough to be hospitalized.)
It’s hard not to be nervous about what all of this means. Even if you remain in perfect health, it’s clear COVID-19 is causing ripples across our way of life.
But it’s not a time to panic. Instead, it’s time for the exact opposite.
Keep a cool head. Review your family’s emergency plans, like you should for any potential issues like tornadoes and fires.
Check in regularly with elderly or infirmed relatives and neighbors. And, make sure you’re in tune with your own health.
Stay out of work if you’re sick or even think you might be ill.
“We are in this fight together,” Kemp said Wednesday night, and he’s 100 percent right.
We’ll get through this, but we have to remain calm — and united.