‘Bumpy recovery’: Southeast lawmakers balance reopening with uptick in cases

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Elected officials in Georgia and Alabama are balancing the reopening of their states while still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) admits there’s a long road ahead to rebuilding the economy damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is gonna be a bumpy recovery,” he said.

Georgia has seen a slight uptick in coronavirus cases. It was one of the first states to reopen non-essential businesses like hair salons.

“I think if we follow the rules, follow the protocols, we can certainly open this economy safely,” Perdue said.

But some lawmakers from a state next door are sounding the alarm.

“COVID in Alabama is still raging,” Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) said.

Jones said his state is seeing a record-high number of COVID-19 cases.

“Just because things are starting to open back up with the economy doesn’t mean we can let our guard down,” he said.

This past week, 1.51 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. Lawmakers said the numbers are staggering.

“Does the data indicate that unemployment will quickly snap back to pre-pandemic levels or should we expect continued economic pain?” Democratic South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn asked a panel of witnesses during a Thursday hearing on coronavirus.

Employment experts told him the job market won’t improve until we tame the virus.

“There is reason for hope,” Biotech Innovation Organization’s President and CEO Michelle McMurry Heath said.

She said three of the vaccine candidates are nearing final clinical trials.

“Scientists all over the world are working day and night to beat this,” McMurry Heath added.

Still, a vaccine may not be available until later next year.

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