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New data shows Georgia may have already reached COVID-19 peak

Data from the state and from infection disease expert Carlos Del Rio suggest Georgia has just passed its coronavirus peak.

ATLANTA — One model now shows some promising news for Georgia in its ongoing battle against the coronavirus, suggesting that the state may have already hit its peak - or is already in the midst of it.

As of Saturday at noon, there were more than 17,600 cases in Georgia with 673 deaths. But new graphs from the Georgia Department of Public Health show signs that social distancing has been working.

They show a bend in the curve of both cases and deaths - meaning daily infections may now be starting to level out. And this isn't the only data showing that.

Dr. Carlos Del Rio, an infectious disease expert at Emory University, has turned to his COVID-19 model as one of the best predictors for the virus. It's from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

"Good news is that it looks like we have passed the 'peak' of hospital bed utilization capacity and social distancing is working," Del Rio tweeted. "But it also states that these measures need to be kept in place until June 15."

He said that if Georgians don't keep doing what they've been doing, and the state removes restrictions early, there would be another peak.

"It will simply come right back," he said.

The April 5 model predicted the peak to be April 20. But, the model was updated on Friday, putting the peak date on April 15.

Dr. Del Rio said measures put in place by Gov. Brian Kemp have saved lives. And with changing data coming in, it also shifted models.

Gov. Kemp has since released a statement that said:

"This development is great news for our state, and we are currently reviewing related data and models for verification. We are cautiously optimistic and deeply grateful to all of the frontline workers, community leaders, and Georgians who keep fighting this battle with us."

On Friday, Gov. Kemp spoke with 11Alive about what it would take to re-open the state. He said places like restaurants, gyms and movie theaters will probably be among the first to reopen, but he said it still won't quite be business as usual.

He said they will start laying out more specific plans this upcoming week.

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