Georgia's Kemp just learned what most already knew about virus

The chief executive of a large state didn't know until a couple of days ago that asymptomatic people can transmit the virus?
Image: Brian Kemp
Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp speaks with supporters after a long election night in Athens.Joshua L. Jones / Athens Banner-Herald via AP

Georgia has been slower than most states to impose restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and those delays have resulted in awful consequences throughout the state. Yesterday, finally, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced a stay-at-home order, which he'll reportedly sign today. Like a variety of other governors, the Georgian also closed the state's public schools for the remainder of the school year.

But as part of the announcement, Kemp explained that he only recently learned that people without symptoms can spread the coronavirus.

"Finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs, 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've been infecting people before they ever felt bad," he added. "But we didn't know that until the last 24 hours. And as [Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey] told me, this is a game changer for us."

Look, it's a stressful time. All governors are trying to manage crisis conditions and learn vital information about how to address a pandemic. I'm not unsympathetic to the enormity of the challenges.

But the chief executive of a large state didn't know until a couple of days ago that asymptomatic people can transmit the virus? Isn't that one of the first pieces of information that most Americans learned -- since it's the relevant detail that makes the virus so easy to spread?

Over the last week, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia has roughly tripled. The number of fatalities has, too. As Rachel noted on the show last night, two Georgia counties are among the top counties in the country in terms of their per capita infection rates.

If the governor is just now learning some of the basics, he's already too far behind.

Kemp's stay-at-home order is scheduled to go into effect tomorrow.