New CDC report shows COVID-19 cases dropping across state, infection rates among highest in country

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has obtained a copy of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report sent to top leaders here in Georgia.

President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force has called Georgia a hot spot for COVID-19 cases. But state leaders have pushed back.

Now this report shows a significant drop in the number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia over the past two weeks.

Despite a 22% drop in cases, the report also shows the number of cases here in Georgia remains high.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray spoke with a scientist who said the report is good news, but we’ve still got a big problem.

The report was sent to state leaders and the Department of Public Health on Aug. 11.

The CDC document shows a 22% drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases statewide in the past two weeks compared to the previous two weeks and it lists Georgia as “in downward trajectory.”

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Gov. Brian Kemp's office said in a statement, "While we continue to see encouraging data in Georgia, we cannot take our foot off the gas."

Georgia Tech's Dr. Joshua Weitz told Gray that context is key here with these new encouraging numbers.

His research shows as of Tuesday, Georgians still have the highest risk of COVID-19 infection in the entire nation.

“We continuously are tracking that number and Georgia remains 50 out of 50 and that’s not the place you want to be,” Weitz said. “The rates are far higher than other places. So, we should be happy to see the rates are going down, but we should not conflate or confuse decreases from where the level remains.”

The new CDC report comes just days after Channel 2 Action News also obtained a White House task force report that recommended Georgia enact a statewide mask mandate.

The new document from the CDC does not make recommendations, but only looks at numbers.

The CDC finds Georgia has now had 18 straight days with a downward trajectory of cases.

The takeaway is that the numbers going down is positive. But Georgia still has some of the highest infection numbers in the country.

The state remains in the top five states for infection numbers in the past seven days only behind states with much larger populations.

Kemp’s office said in a statement that Georgians need to continue to wear masks and keep social distance for that number to continue to go down.