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Why did governors shut down their states? AU experts share their insight

Gov. Brian Kemp toured Phoebe Tuesday morning. (Source: WALB)
Gov. Brian Kemp toured Phoebe Tuesday morning. (Source: WALB)(WRDW)
Published: May. 28, 2020 at 9:56 PM EDT
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Thursday, May 28, 2020

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Governors are lifting stay-at-home orders and trying to restart their states’ economies, so experts at AU decided to study the factors behind the decision to close down in the first place.

Since the impact of the virus was different across the country, Dr. Gregg Murray and Dr. Susan Murray of Augusta University launched a study to examine the scientific, political and economic factors behind governors’ decisions to issue stay-at-home.

In their report, “Following Doctor’s Advice: Explaining the Issuance of Stay-At-Home Orders Related to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) by U.S. Governors,” the two researchers looked at the timeline of the shelter-in-place orders from March 1 until April 10.

“We discovered that public health factors related to the spread of the disease influenced these mandates — as the number of coronavirus deaths increased, governors became more likely to issue a stay-at-home order,” Gregg said in the release. “As we dug deeper, though, we found political factors related to the partisanship of the governor and economic factors played even larger roles in governors’ decisions to close their states.

And as World Health Organization officials warn of a second wave of the virus, Susan Murray says their findings could help predict government response to future health care crises.

“If this prediction from health officials is correct, then we should be prepared to be ‘locked down’ again,” Susan said in the release. “In particular, those who live in a state with a Democratic governor, weak economy or widespread cases of the coronavirus are at a higher risk of being shut down.”

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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