Expert says models show coronavirus will peak in Georgia around April 22

ATLANTA — An infectious disease expert at Emory said models show that coronavirus infections in Georgia will peak during the week of April 22.

Dr. Carlos Del Rio said on a conference call with reporters Monday morning that the most important thing Georgians can do right now is stay at home.

“I tell people my phrase is, let’s erase April,” Del Rio said. “The most important thing we can do is stay home. Staying home saves lives.”

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Del Rio, who is the executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Health System, said the estimated date for a peak in Georgia is based on predictions from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

"It's probably the best modeling group there is in the United States," Del Rio said.

On Monday, for the third day in a row, the number of new coronavirus cases slowed significantly in Georgia, even as deaths continued to climb.

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There are now at least 3,032 confirmed cases of the virus statewide, according to the state public health agency. The department reports 102 Georgians have died from COVID-19.

Del Rio praised local and state-level leaders on their response.

"They’re slowly doing what needs to be done," Del Rio said. "I wish it had been done earlier, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be effective."

Del Rio warned that the shelter-in-place will not work if surrounding cities and counties don't align.

Del Rio said if everyone follows orders through April, he's optimistic.

"If we continue the clinical trials and make sure our hospitals have the supplies they need, I really think by early May, we will be fine," Del Rio said.


He said more than 197 clinical trials are now happening. One trial is at Emory with results expected in the next few weeks.

"Clinical science and research is going to be the answer to this epidemic," Del Rio said. "Public health is going to buy us time and it’s going to limit the spread."

In the meantime, Del Rio said it's important not to overwhelm the hospital systems at a time when allergies are running high. He said biggest issues doctors face are capacity issues and not having the reagents test.

Channel 2′s Wendy Corona talked to one Atlantan who said it’s hard to tell if you’re sick or not.

“A lot of people are getting confused,” Elijah Smith said. “It’s pollen season. I want to know like, ‘How do I know if it’s just a common cold or if it’s actually the thing?’”

Emory has created a website to check all your symptoms against.