During an interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show Monday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms expressed her concerns about Georgia’s plans to reopen its economy as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise in the state.
Bottoms acknowledged that she had a good working relationship with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, despite their different party affiliations, but she called his decision to start reopening the state “premature.”
“I understand there’s a huge economic strain on so many business owners and that’s very real, but we’re balancing that in life, literally,” Bottoms said. “We don’t get to pick and choose who gets infected and how severe their illness will be, and when one person is infected then it’s an entire community.”
Bottoms pushed back against the conception that Georgia is better suited to reopen now because it’s easier for people to keep apart from each other than a place like New York City. She noted the Atlanta metropolitan area has a population of 6 million, its airport is one of the busiest in the world and she cited a recent report that suggested the South could still end up bearing the brunt of COVID-19 because of issues like underlying health conditions and poverty rates.
“What we know, looking at countries across the globe, is that the way they’ve been able to flatten their numbers is to be very deliberate in keeping people separated,” Bottoms said. “And our numbers in this state are continuing to rise daily, our death rates are continuing to rise and we aren’t testing people. And we may have [hospital] beds to offer to people, but it’s like we’re saying to people, ‘Yeah, go bowling, and if you get sick I have a bed for you.’ That makes no sense to me.”