On a recent call with local business leaders, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) defended Georgia’s reopening process by comparing the risks of contracting Covid-19 to those of driving a car, indicating that calculating risk amounts to personal responsibility, according to a recording of the call obtained by Vox.
“We get in an automobile, we drive on our public roads, and a certain number of us will die on our public roads every year,” Perdue can be heard saying on the recording of a Zoom call with the Rome Floyd Chamber last Thursday. “Well, each of us in a representative democracy have the freedom to make that determination about the risk level for me as an individual. And therefore, we choose to go or we choose not to go. In a situation like this, as long as we have good information, we can make our own decisions.”
Ironically, on the day of the call, the state of Georgia announced its 1,557th confirmed coronavirus death in the 15 weeks since the state’s first confirmed case, exceeding the 1,504 automobile deaths in the state in all of 2018, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the risks of the novel coronavirus and how it compares to other threats, but infectious disease experts have dismissed comparisons between the virus and automobile accidents. “I think that’s a false equivalency to compare traffic accidents with — I mean, that’s totally way out,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said on March 20. “That’s really a false equivalency, when you have something that is new and is emerging and you really can’t predict totally the impact it’s going to have.”
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