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Experts: Christmas travel COVID-19 cases will spike, deaths will rise

With folks hitting the road and skies to go to visit family and friends – local health experts warn it could be a deadly decision.

ATLANTA — With folks hitting the road and skies to go to visit family and friends, local health experts warn the very idea could be a deadly decision.  

Dr. Jeremy Willis owns Priority Laboratories in Union City, which is a healthcare processing lab. When it comes to COVID-19, he said there’s been an uptick in clients sending him tests.  

“Two months ago, they were sending us three COVID tests. Now they are sending us 50 a day,” Dr. Willis said adding a warning. “We want to do the same thing we were doing before the pandemic, in the height of the pandemic and as contagious as this virus is you cannot do that.” 

Dr. Willis also believes Thanksgiving travel and visits only agitated the already high numbers.  

“You can almost do the math. You’re seeing 3,000 deaths a day, 20 days after Thanksgiving,” he said.  

Public Health Advocate and Founder of Sprout Consulting Group, Ursula Douglas, agrees. But she takes it one step farther.  

“Prior to late October, there was a bit of a lull in testing,” Douglas said. “In my opinion, the early voting initiative, coupled with the election day itself, and then holiday travel period, it shows one -- the cases are spiking. And it also shows, in my opinion, that people are being proactive as they go about their day-to-day activities.”  

On a larger scale, numbers from the Georgia Department of Health show that we’re averaging nearly 40,000 tests per day during the current week.

Tuesday was the second-highest testing day on record. Since Thanksgiving, the average daily test rate is up by about 24%. Even more, the number of confirmed cases each day shot up by 111%.  

With Christmas Day travel ahead, Willis predicts devastating results.

“You’re going to have a spike of 5,000 deaths a day," he said. "You can count it from this day in January. You can count it from this day and move a month out and that’s going to continue until we let the virus die.” 

Willis noted that the virus will die when the CDC's recommendations are strictly followed.  

Dr. Willis admits he recently caught COVID from two people he was briefly around and who were not in his normal circle. 

He has quarantined himself and says thankfully, his immediate family has tested negative and his own symptoms are mild.  



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