KEY POINTS

  • Gov. Brian Kemp finally orders a statewide shelter-in-place 
  • He just learned that coronavirus might spread without symptoms
  • The CDC has been saying this for weeks

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Wednesday that Georgia would be under a shelter-in-place order after holding off longer than other U.S. governors. He said the decision was due to a "game-changer" in understanding how coronavirus spreads.

In his press conference, the governor said that this game-changer was learning that COVID-19 may be transmitted "before people see signs." Kemp was referring to the asymptomatic spread of coronavirus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned for weeks.

“So what we’ve been telling people from directives from the CDC for weeks now, that if you start feeling bad stay home, those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad,” Kemp said. "Well we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” he added. “This is a game-changer for us."

Brian_Kemp Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp just recently found out about the asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus despite the CDC and other health agencies sharing this information for weeks. Photo: Georgia National Guard/Flicker

Several mayors in Georgia have implemented stricter measures, as well as surpassing Kemp's order, to stop the spread of coronavirus. The asymptomatic spread was, in fact, not a game-changer.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a White House press briefing last Jan. 31 that health officials were first unsure if COVID-19 has an asymptomatic infection.

"Now we know for sure that there are," Fauci said.

The CDC website also indicates that the virus may spread without people showing any symptoms.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta were stunned by the governor's statement.

"Anderson, this is inexcusable," Gupta said, adding that he finds it hard to believe that the governor wouldn't know or was not told by someone else.

"My kids who go to school in Georgia knew that a month ago," the medical expert said and cited several instances where public health officials brought up the matter.

Cooper agreed with Gupta and also said that it's inexcusable for the governor not to be briefed about coronavirus. The host implied that the governor could be guilty of political malpractice or can be criminally liable for negligence.

“If it’s true that he just heard that, he just learned that then he has not been paying attention and he has not been doing his job," Cooper said. "That is completely irresponsible.”