Kemp optimistic on Georgia virus fight as concerns linger
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is easing a few restrictions on businesses and child care operations, but is keeping most current rules until at least the end of May. The Republican governor reiterated Tuesday that he believes Georgia is containing the COVID-19 respiratory illness, despite areas of concern. Kemp says he's most encouraged by low demand for critical care hospital beds. On Tuesday, Georgia was reporting nearly 35,000 confirmed cases overall and 1,465 confirmed deaths from the virus. Top health experts continue to warn that loosening restrictions too quickly could spark a resurgence of infections.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOTTERY REBOUND
Georgians reach for lotto tickets amid pandemic blues
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgians may be spending a lot of time at home, but it’s not stopping them from playing the state lottery. Georgia Lottery Corp. Vice President Brad Bohannon says lottery sales set a monthly record in April after dropping in March. The increase is continuing, with Bohannon telling the state House Higher Education Committee on Tuesday that two of the five highest sales weeks in lottery history have come in May. He credits much of the increase to a 50% jump in use of the lottery’s online options. Yearly profit projections have rebounded by $50 million to $1.11 billion, but remain below last year for now. Lottery proceeds finance college aid and preschool classes.
Speaker says Georgia lawmakers to return with precautions
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia House Speaker David Ralston says that the legislative session paused in March because of the coronavirus will resume on June 11 with some new policies and procedures in place. Ralston said in a memo Tuesday that staff would begin transitioning back to offices on June 1, with in-person committee meetings set to resume June 2. A report outlines procedures to be implemented before members return. The report says that people will have their temperature checked at the door and spaces will be “fogged” daily to protect against the virus. A spokesman for Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan says the Senate hasn’t agreed to the start date.
GEORGIA CHASE-DEADLY SHOOTING
Local prosecutors under investigation in Georgia slaying
ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia prosecutors who first handled the fatal shooting of a black man are under investigation for their conduct in the case. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and federal authorities to investigate how local prosecutors handled the killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. He was pursued by a white father and son before being shot on a residential street just outside the port city of Brunswick. Arbery’s relatives have said he was merely jogging through the subdivision. The slaying has fueled a national outcry and questions about whether it was racially motivated.
ATLANTA SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT
Atlanta school system confirms choice of leader from Alabama
ATLANTA (AP) — School board members in Atlanta have confirmed as their new superintendent the woman who now leads schools in Alabama’s largest city. Birmingham Superintendent Lisa Herring was approved on Monday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the board voted 8-1 in her favor after the required 14-day pause. The 47-year-old Herring agreed to a three-year contract and will start work in Atlanta on July 1. She will replace Meria Carstarphen, who won plaudits for improving academic performance and morale in the 51,000-student Atlanta system after a cheating scandal. Herring will make $320,000 a year in salary, plus $2,000 a month for expenses.
Civic leader Fred L. Davis dies in Memphis; marched with MLK
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Civic leader and businessman Fred L. Davis has died in Memphis, Tennessee. Davis supported the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was 86. A media representative for the Davis family said he died Tuesday at his home in Memphis. Davis had been ill for several months. Davis was elected to the Memphis City Council in 1967. He supported Memphis sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968 to protest dangerous working conditions and low pay. Davis joined King on a march down Beale Street that turned violent in March 1968.
Virus unleashes wave of fraud in US amid fear and scarcity
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials say the COVID-19 outbreak has unleashed a wave of fraud. An arm of the Department of Homeland Security called Homeland Security Investigations has opened more than 300 cases in recent weeks that include counterfeit products and medicines as well as fake tests for the virus. Authorities have also found cases of fraudsters attempting to sell nonexistent masks and other protective equipment to hospitals. One case involves a former investment manager in Georgia who was already facing federal charges for an alleged Ponzi scheme that defrauded 1,000 investors around the country. Authorities say they expect to open more cases in the coming months.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-DIARY-THE LUCK FACTOR
VIRUS DIARY: Luck (good for now) is her isolation soundtrack