Kemp Said He “Didn’t Know” COVID-19 Transmits Asymptomatically, Despite Months of Warnings From National Health Officials

April 2, 2020

Kemp failed to act on basic information on COVID-19 as Georgia is “among the worst in the nation” for pandemic preparedness

ATLANTA – At yesterday’s press conference, just a short distance away from the Center for Disease Control, Governor* Brian Kemp finally established a statewide stay at home order and attempted to justify his “too little too late” coronavirus response by saying he “didn’t know” the virus could be spread through asymptomatic transmission — despite leading health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci briefing Americans on asymptomatic transmission as early as January 31st

After being questioned about his late response by a reporter, Kemp called asymptomatic transmission a “revelation and a game changer,” and said: 

“Finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs…well we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours” 

Kemp’s admission reveals that he and his administration hadn’t been listening to the health officials, including members of the White House coronavirus task force, who have been sharing that information for months: 

  • In late January, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified that we “absolutely” know that asymptomatic people can spread the virus while asymptomatic. 
  • In February, major national news outlets reported that asymptomatic people were transmitting the virus. By early March, Kemp’s hometown paper was warning people of asymptomatic spread. 
  • On March 1st, the Center for Disease Control, which is based in Atlanta, issued guidance stating that asymptomatic people can spread the coronavirus.  
  • By mid-March, White House task force members were directly saying that asymptomatic transmission was an “increasing concern” and directly warning young people to stay home because they can transmit the virus asymptomatically. 

Kemp’s failure to learn basic information about COVID-19 has  put Georgia weeks behind in basic preparedness for the pandemic as local governments have had to take measures into their own hands, leading to a patchwork of responses throughout the state. Now, Georgia is struggling to procure much-needed medical supplies as the state is forced to “play catch up in coronavirus testing.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial board says it best: 

Kemp will have to live with these facts: He was slow to act in a state where the statistics on this pandemic are among the worst in the nation; his delayed action almost certainly means things will be worse than they might have been in Georgia.

Health officials knew. Americans knew. Brian Kemp failed to act, and now Georgians are paying the price. 


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