A decision Wednesday night by Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to issue an executive order banning the mandating of masks across the state has been met with anger and sustained criticism from public health advocates.
"More Georgians will die because of Brian Kemp's actions tonight, but he doesn't seem to care," Georgia Democratic Party chair Nikema Williams said in a statement responding to the order.
This man is a cult follower from hell. Dangerous, reckless, completely deranged. Didn't think there was anyone worse than Trump.
Local mask mandates 'suspended' by Gov. Kemp's executive order https://t.co/hctlmi30nF
— Michelangelo Signorile, subscribe to my newsletter (@MSignorile) July 16, 2020
Kemp's decree was an escalation of tensions between the governor and local leaders.
As the Washington Post reported:
The governor had previously tried to ban cities and counties from passing any coronavirus restrictions that went further than Georgia’s guidelines. But many cities, including Atlanta, defied him by passing mask mandates anyway, arguing it was essential to flatten the curve. Kemp's new order "strongly encourages" masks.
"It is officially official," tweeted Savannah Mayor Van Johnson. "Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us."
It is officially official. Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us. Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can.
In #Savannah, we will continue to keep the faith and follow the science. Masks will continue to be available!
— Mayor Van Johnson (@MayorJohnsonSAV) July 16, 2020
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia continue to rise.
According to Gizmodo:
In early April, Georgia had identified just 4,748 identified cases and 154 deaths from Covid-19. Today, the state has recorded 127,834 cases and 3,091 deaths total, well below the actual number of cases and deaths according to health experts.
Democrat Stacy Abrams, who ran for governor against Kemp in 2018, told MSNBC Wednesday evening that Kemp's order made clear he was unconcerned with the deaths in the state from the virus.
"More than 3,000 Georgians have perished, disproportionately Black and brown Georgians," said Abrams. "And he continues to fiddle while Rome burns."