ATLANTA – As Georgia slowly adjusts to a new normal, Georgia Tech researcher Pinar Keskinocak and her team at Tech’s Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems are trying to predict what’s next.
And what’s next, Keskinocak says, largely depends on us.
“What we do now, and what we do every day going forward, is going to matter a lot,” Keskinocak says. “That’s probably the thing that matters the most, at the moment.”
Keskinocak and her team have created a COVID-19 model that focuses specifically on Georgia and is based on how one person might spread the virus to others in different levels of social distancing.
“This is a very infections disease, and if someone has the disease, and they interact with other people, the chances of transmission are quite high,” she says.
The Georgia Tech model predicts Georgia’s COVID-19 infections and deaths will continue to rise through mid-August, with a peak in cases somewhere between early June and mid-August.
Without strict social distancing, Keskinocak she says, their projections are “grim.”
By the peak, the model predicts, anywhere from 6,100 to 17,900 Georgians could die, and between 44,800 to 77,700 could be infected by the novel coronavirus.
“So, I hope that many people in Georgia, wherever they are, continue the social distancing, the physical distancing to the extent it’s possible,” Keskinocak says.
The Georgia Department of Public Health says more than 250,000 people have been tested for COVID-19.
The state now has more than 33,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 1,440 deaths from complications of the virus.
Keskinocak encourages Georgians to wear a mask in public, stay home if they can, and self-quarantine for 14 days if they or anyone in their home contracts COVID-19.
“We need to remember what we do impacts not just our self as an individual, it impacts our family, it impacts our community, it impacts our society,” Keskinocak says.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told reporters last week he and state health officials continue to follow the data.
“I think it’s important for the citizens to know, we follow a lot of things,” Kemp said. “As Dr. (Kathleen) Toomey and I said six weeks ago, the more we test, the more positive tests we are going to see.”
“We continue to watch the numbers every day, and the numbers continue to look better,” Kemp added.
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