By David Bailin
Chief Investment Officer
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We consider the potential implications of Georgia’s decision to reopen its economy from lockdown.
Overconfidence is a dangerous thing when it comes to pandemics and mountain climbing. Unfortunately, the confident route taken by the country of Sweden and the state of Georgia may lead them to an unhappy place.
Unlike almost all of Western Europe, Sweden has left its schools, gyms, cafes, bars and restaurants open during the pandemic. Anders Tegnell, the country’s epidemiologist, instructed Sweden’s citizens to adopt social distancing and to take individual responsibility for their actions rather than adopting a countrywide lockdown. This differs from its neighbors Norway and Denmark. Sweden has advantages favoring this strategy given that more of its people already work from home than anywhere else in Europe and that internet access is uniformly fast. This helps Sweden’s workforce stay productive away from offices.
The State of Georgia imposed a statewide lockdown on April 3rd and it has been effective. Now, Governor Brian Kemp is reopening the state quickly. Over the next two weeks, Kemp will allow hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, restaurants, gyms and bowling alleys to resume operations. As we have previously written, active testing, tracking, adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and the maintenance of social distancing are necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains limited. It appears Georgia hasn’t sufficiently ensured these tests, capabilities and PPE are in place.
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