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GA Coronavirus Progress Touted By Kemp During Wednesday Briefing

ATLANTA, GA — Gov. Brian Kemp took a victory lap during his coronavirus briefing Wednesday morning, touting Georgia’s 64-percent reduction in new COVID-19 since a peak on July 24.

“We needed Georgians to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, and I’m very proud of the fact that Georgians have stepped up to the plate and have done the right thing,” Kemp said. “The key for now is for us to keep doing this. We cannot take our foot off the gas.”

Both Kemp and Dr. Katherine Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, urged Georgians to “wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands and follow the guidance” of health experts.

Kemp noted other signs of progress as well, with confirmed hospitalizations down 60 percent from their peak and COVID-19 cases comprising only 8.8 percent of Georgia’s total hospital population.

Kemp noted that Georgia’s unemployment rate is below the national average and that the state has maintained its triple-A bond rating through the pandemic.

“We have worked hard to protect people and their paychecks,” Kemp said, “and, yes, we can do both.”

Kemp sidestepped a reporter’s question about what kind of example he’d set by attending last week’s Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, in which most attendees were close and maskless.

Instead, Kemp pointed out that at least he was wearing a mask and that participants in similar events — including “demonstrations” and “protests” — have First Amendment rights.

But when another reporter challenged Kemp’s positive outlook by pointing out that the most recent seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases had risen slightly, Kemp pushed back

“You know, cherry picking the worst figures like you’ve done in the past is a little disingenuous to the public,” Kemp answered, urging the public to bypass the media and read Toomey’s reports firsthand.

Kemp ended the briefing with a pitch to vote.

“We have one of the greatest states in the country for access to the ballot,” Kemp said. “We’re a state that wants to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

GEORGIA CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS FOR OCT. 7, 2020

The Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta reported a total of 326,142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7. According to the health department’s website, that includes 1,554 newly confirmed cases over the last 24 hours.

Georgia also reported 7,259 deaths so far from COVID-19, with 32 more deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. In addition, the state reported 29,308 hospitalizations — 154 more than the day before — and 5,439 admissions so far to intensive-care units.

No information is available from Georgia about how many patients have recovered.

Counties in or near metro Atlanta and other metropolitan areas continue to have the highest number of positives, with Fulton County still in the lead.

  1. Fulton County: 28,392 cases — 134 new

  2. Gwinnett County: 28,328 cases — 121 new

  3. Cobb County: 20,224 cases — 104 new

  4. DeKalb County:

Trump’s medical team briefing reveals things are worse than we knew

Here’s what we learned from the latest briefing.

Trump given steroid, a worrying sign

As a determination of the team based predominantly on the timeline from the initial diagnosis that we initiate dexamethasone. – White House physician Dr. Sean Conley

Dexamethasone – a safe, inexpensive steroid that has been around for decades – is generally reserved for patients with severe or critical Covid-19 cases.

The National Institutes of Health and World Health Organization both recommend the drug for patients on supplemental oxygen or ventilators, based on a large clinical trial that found it reduced the risk of death. But both guidelines warn the drug could harm people who don’t require oxygen therapy or a ventilator, and should not be used for such patients. Trump’s doctors said Sunday that he has received oxygen therapy twice for limited periods. They also said he’s run a fever.

The decision to give Trump dexamethasone shows that “he’s actually having effects on his lungs from the virus,” said Abraar Karan, an internal medicine doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Trump continues antiviral treatment that can shorten length of illness

The president yesterday evening completed his second dose of remdesivir. He’s tolerated that infusion well. – Dr. Brian Garibaldi

Remdesivir is an antiviral drug made by Gilead Sciences originally developed to fight Ebola. Trump’s doctors said Friday that he had begun the standard-five day course of infusions of the drug.

Remdesivir has been shown to speed recovery, but it’s not clear if it actually reduces the risk of death. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized emergency use in hospitalized patients.

Trump’s oxygen levels have dipped to concerning levels

Late Friday morning, when I returned to the bedside, the president had a high fever and his oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94 percent. Given these two developments, I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness. I recommended the president we try supplemental oxygen, see how he would respond. He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it. He was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever and that was about it. And after about a minute, on only two liters, his saturation levels were back over 95 percent. He stayed on that for about an hour, maybe, and was off and gone. – Dr. Conley

Another oddity of Covid-19: some patients’ oxygen levels fall, but they don’t have trouble breathing. That’s why doctors watch blood oxygen levels.

The president’s physicians gave him oxygen after his level dropped below 94 percent – a key threshold for Covid-19 patients. Dipping below that level signals that a patient’s case is moderate or severe, with the exact diagnosis depending on other vital signs, according to the CDC.

“Once you drop below 94 percent, by definition you have severe Covid,” said Carlos del Rio, an infectious-disease expert at Emory University.

What do Trump’s lung scans actually show?

What did the X-rays and CT scans show? Are there signs of pneumonia? Are there signs