NBC Admits Georgia Reopening Looks Successful So Far

bradwilmouth | May 24, 2020
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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, the show ran a report which surprisingly gave an upbeat assessment of the results Georgia has gotten in the four seeks since it reopened in spite of all the naysayers who warned of disaster. But, in spite of the criticism that Georgia's Republican governor, Brian Kemp, received a month ago that was mostly from the left, only a soundbite of President Donald Trump was shown to document the apparently misplaced hesitance by some to reopen.

Weekend anchor Jose Diaz Balart introduced the report:

JOSE DIAZ BALART: When Georgia became one of the first states to reopen back in April, many said it was too much, soon, predicting a new surge in coronavirus cases. Now, exactly four weeks later, Blayne Alexander reports on whether Georgia's gamble paid off.

In a pre-recorded piece, correspondent Blayne Alexander was seen speaking with Tony Roberts, a barber shop owner who is glad he reopened:

BLAYNE ALEXANDER: When Tony reopened his doors a month ago, he had plenty of concerns.

TONY ROBERTS, BARBER SHOP OWNER: We were in dire straits, and we didn't know, you know, what else to do.

ALEXANDER: Now.

ROBERTS: I feel good about it. Being able to go back and check with our clients and make sure, two weeks later, if they're doing good.

ALEXANDER: Is it worth it to reopen financially?

ROBERTS: Yes, yes, it's worth it for me and my barbers. We all have families to support.

Given the fearmongering by liberals that reopening would hurt the black population disproportionately, it is also noteworthy Roberts is black.

Alexander noted that Governor Kemp was criticized "in droves" a month ago after he decided to end the lockdown, but the only example of criticism she showed was a soundbite of President Trump:

ALEXANDER: Last month, Georgia was one of the first states to reopen, and with the most aggressive approach -- allowing barber shops, restaurants, tattoo parlors, and more to welcome customers. The criticism came in droves.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I told the governor simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right.

The NBC reporter then showed some of the data indicating that there has not been a surge in new Covid-19 cases as some predicted:

ALEXANDER: One month later, here's what Georgia looks like today. These are new cases before and after the state's reopening. Looking at a three-day average, there is no steady trend up or down. So far, no major spike in cases as some predicted. These are new hospitalizations before and after -- no major changes. The same with new deaths, though the number has fluctuated.

DR. VIN GUPTA, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's encouraging that we're not seeing a dramatic increase in hospitalizations  We're not seeing ERs overwhelmed.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Saturday, May 23, NBC Nightly News:

JOSE DIAZ BALART: When Georgia became one of the first states to reopen back in April, many said it was too much, soon, predicting a new surge in coronavirus cases. Now, exactly four weeks later, Blayne Alexander reports on whether Georgia's gamble paid off.

BLAYNE ALEXANDER: At Tony's Barber Studio, the chairs are booked, the clippers buzzing. Does it almost feel like a normal Saturday?

TONY ROBERTS, TONY'S BARBER STUDIO: Close, yeah, it's close.

ALEXANDER: When Tony reopened his doors a month ago, he had plenty of concerns.

ROBERTS: We were in dire straits, and we didn't know, you know, what else to do.

ALEXANDER: Now.

ROBERTS: I feel good about it. Being able to go back and check with our clients and make sure, two weeks later, if they're doing good.

ALEXANDER: Is it worth it to reopen financially?

ROBERTS: Yes, yes, it's worth it for me and my barbers. We all have families to support.

ALEXANDER: Last month, Georgia was one of the first states to reopen, and with the most aggressive approach -- allowing barber shops, restaurants, tattoo parlors, and more to welcome customers. The criticism came in droves.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I told the governor simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right.

ALEXANDER: One month later, here's what Georgia looks like today. These are new cases before and after the state's reopening. Looking at a three-day average, there is no steady trend up or down. So far, no major spike in cases as some predicted. These are new hospitalizations before and after -- no major changes. The same with new deaths, though the number has fluctuated.

DR. VIN GUPTA, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's encouraging that we're not seeing a dramatic increase in hospitalizations  We're not seeing ERs overwhelmed.

ALEXANDER: But Georgia officials have admitted problems reporting new data, giving confusing numbers around testing and new cases.

GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): They are taking massive amounts of data from countless sources. Please afford them some patience.

ALEXANDER: And many experts say that it's still too soon to get a full picture of how reopening has impacted the state.

DR. JUSTIN SCHRAGER, EMORY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: I am cautiously optimistic about it.

ALEXANDER: Justin Schrager is on the front lines as an ED doctor. He spent weeks living apart from his family.

SCHRAGER: Not being able to hold my baby has been the hardest thing.

ALEXANDER: Now, he's back home and says he sees fewer Covid-19 patients in his ER. Experts warn that, despite reopening, many Georgians are still staying inside. As that changes, Doctor Schrager worries about what the coming weeks will bring.

SCHRAGER: We're all holding our breath hoping that we won't go back to where we were two months ago to a month and a half ago.

BALART: And, Blayne, the Georgia Department of Health says hospitalization numbers may actually be higher?

ALEXANDER: That's right, Jose. That's because the state only counts those who tested positive when they were in the hospital. So that means if you get a positive test one day and then you go to the hospital several days later, that does not count in the state's total.

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