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Data shows Georgia COVID cases down 74 percent; Experts say keep mitigation measures to avoid another surge

The current numbers look like what Georgia recorded at the end of May, beginning of June in 2020.

ATLANTA — After weeks of climbing coronavirus cases, there is some good COVID news. In Georgia, COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are down from the record numbers.

However, despite the trend heading in the right direction, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said relaxing preventive measures right now, could be a “serious threat” to the country’s progress.

Here's a look at Georgia's progress.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

Georgia recorded the highest number of cases on average around Jan. 8, 2021, with 6,407 cases per day on average. Georgia has seen a 74 percent decrease, with the current average weekly cases per day coming in at 1,660.

The graph below indicates new cases in blue since Dec. 20, 2021. The orange bars represented cases in the last week and the dotted line represents the 14-day moving average. 

Credit: GA DPH
The graph shows there's been a decrease in COVID-19 cases in Georgia since. Here's a look at cases starting from Dec. 20, 2020 up until March 2021.

As for deaths, Georgia hit a record around February 18, 2021, with 128 deaths per day weekly average. This number has decreased by 67 percent, with the current deaths recorded at 42 deaths per day weekly average.

Around January 13, 2021, 5,721 COVID patients were in the hospital across Georgia. Now, there’s 1,214, which is a decrease of 78 percent.

The current numbers look like what Georgia recorded at the end of May, beginning of June in 2020.

Vaccinations have certainly helped with the decline. The CDC reports almost one-quarter of the entire U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Despite the good news, there is still some concern cases could rise once again, if measures like mask mandates, physical distancing, and avoiding travel are relaxed.

AVOIDING ANOTHER SURGE

“We are at a critical point in this pandemic, a fork in the road where we as a country must decide which path we are going to take,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.

While Georgia cases decline, an analysis from John Hopkins University show new cases rose by 5 percent or more in 27 states, as of March 21.

At least a dozen governors relaxed restrictions, and an unruly Miami spring Break worries some that cases may spike sooner rather than later. (To avoid a surge in Georgia, many universities canceled or shortened their spring breaks to prevent widespread student travel.)

And while, the CDC still recommends avoiding travel, TSA reports more than 1.5 million people were screened nationwide on Sunday, March 21, a pandemic-era record. Compared to the same day last year, less than 550,000 people traveled by air nationwide.

This comes as dangerous variants continue to spread across the country. New York just recorded it’s first case of a contagious variant first found in Brazil. 

RELATED: New variant strain of coronavirus confirmed in Metro Atlanta, anticipated to 'spread quickly'

The B.1.1.7 variant, first found in the U.K., is now suspected to account for 20 to 30 percent of infections in the country, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Walensky said during a White house COVID briefing, “The continued relaxation of prevention measure while cases are still high, and while concerning variants are spreading rapidly throughout the United States is a serious threat to the progress we have as a nation.”

In Georgia, about 351 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been recorded, with 16 cases of other variants reported by the CDC.

Fauci and Walensky said moving forward with vaccinations, while keeping current restrictions is the best way to prevent the country from seeing a rise in cases once again.

“We must find the fortitude to hang in there for just a little bit longer,” said Walensky.