- Several high school students in Atlanta tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a drive-through graduation parade and subsequent graduation party.
- Georgia allowed non-essential businesses to reopen in late April.
- The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States is now around 100,000.
A number of recent graduates from a private high school in Atlanta tested positive for the coronavirus shortly after the school held a drive-through graduation parade a little more than a week ago. Though graduates were confined to their cars throughout the ceremony, the initial student who tested positive told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they threw a graduation party for friends and family after the fact.
In the wake of the positive coronavirus tests, a school spokesperson sent out the following email to the AJC:
Students and their families were confined to their cars during the parade, and the only attendees were about 75 school employees who were socially distanced along the road through campus to cheer the graduates as they drove by. Any other events mentioned were not school-sanctioned, so we have no further information on those.
An official statement from the school reads in part:
Because we are committed to helping the Lovett community stay healthy, we want to let you know that the school has been notified by several Class of 2020 families that their students have tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately the infectious nature of the COVID-19 virus means that most communities will be touched at some point, and we recognize how hard separation and missed milestones have been on the emotional lives of our students. Families of the students diagnosed with COVID-19 are working with the appropriate healthcare professionals and Departments of Health.
While throwing a graduation party in the midst of the coronavirus sounds ludicrous, the fact that it happened in Georgia isn’t surprising. Recall that Georgia was the first state to reopen, with Governor Brian Kemp opting to allow non-essential businesses to open back up for business about a month ago. Incidentally, Kemp’s decision was widely criticized by fellow Republican lawmakers. Tellingly, even President Trump at the time wasn’t on board.
“I want him to do what he thinks is right,” Trump said a few weeks ago, “but I disagree with him on what he is doing. I think it’s too soon.”
For what it’s worth, the number of coronavirus cases in Georgia hasn’t skyrocketed since Kemp’s reopening plan went into effect about four weeks ago. At the same time, the number of coronaviruses in the state over the last month hasn’t gone down either.
Meanwhile, a number of other states are currently embarking on their own tailor-made plans to reopen over the next few weeks. To that end, the CDC a few days ago released an extensive list of safety guidelines for businesses to follow. For instance, restaurants will be encouraged to “use touchless payment and no-touch trash cans and doors as much as possible.” Further, customers may be asked to “exchange cash or credit cards by placing [them] in a receipt tray or on the counter rather than by hand.”