Maddow shames Georgia governor for slow shutdown while claiming he just learned coronavirus is a 'game-changer'
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow (screengrab)

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow ripped Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) for being so slow to shutdown his state, even while one of the top per-capita coronavirus counties in the country is in Georgia.


Two counties in rural Georgia are being decimated, she explained. "Along with that region's one under-resourced and beleaguered and now overrun hospital."

"Every American that has died has a life story," she said. "It applies to all of us, which is the thing that we don't have. Sometimes it is easier to see not looking at individual cases or individual lives and counties that are affected. Sometimes it is easy to see from afar."

But it didn't have to be this way.

Kemp joined with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in denying the seriousness of the disease, then thinking if he just let a few counties shut down, things would be fine. But viruses cross borders. Whether state or county or personal property boundaries, the coronavirus is slowly making its way across the country.

Florida is now officially the only state in the country with over 5,000 cases that hasn't shut down. While DeSantis finally issued the order on Tuesday, it won't start until midnight Thursday. It's unclear why he waited. To make matters worse, DeSantis has exempted churches and beaches, where people can continue to gather in large numbers.

Kemp and DeSantis both used the excuse that they hadn't heard from the Coronavirus Task Force that they should shut things down. In fact, the White House has been advocating for the 30-day shutdown for more than a week. Prior to that, task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci has been talking about it as the best way to stop the virus from spreading and to ensure that hospitals are not overrun.

Ohio's Republican governor, Mike DeWine, was among the first in the nation to shut down his state, and he was flooded with criticism for doing it. According to science writer Ed Yong of The Atlantic, said on NPR Wednesday that Ohio's hospitals look like they're going to be OK. While they're inundated like with everyone else, they will not be overrun the way other states will. As he explained, once your state has it and you decide to shut down, it's too late. Only the states that preemptively shutdown will be able to survive the influx of cases.

Yet, still, Kemp and DeSantis said they never knew they were supposed to shut down. It's unclear what newspapers, radios, or television shows they were watching for the past several weeks or they would have seen it.

Maddow noted that on NBC's "Today Show" Wednesday morning, Surgeon General Jerome Adams inadvertently advised every state in the country shutting down. He held up a flier from the task force that the White House has been using to give people guidance. It advises a 30-day shutdown, which he echoed.

"If you happen to be watching from the 'Today Show,' you would have heard from one official that his advice -- that the guidelines that exists are national stay-at-home order," Maddow said. "A national policy to try to slow the epidemic that already killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. After the unplanned blurt by the surgeon general about what he now maybe says maybe a national stay-at-home order after Florida Republican Ron DeSantis decides today that now he'll put a stay-at-home order in effect in his state because now maybe he believes he had the instruction from the White House. Or he heard a slip of the tongue by a single official on tv that suggested that maybe that was his permission slip. Maybe it may be a good idea?"

Kemp also issued an order finally on Wednesday, but he won't sign it until Thursday, and it won't go into effect until Friday. Maddow confessed she has no idea what he's waiting for.

"After saying, I kid you not, that he only just learned today, he just heard that people who are asymptomatic can spread the virus," She said. "He never heard that before today."

The CDC visuals the White House is handing out make it pretty clear. But when Kemp heard the news Wednesday, it was a "revelation" and a "game-changer," he said.

"A revelation? To everybody who's been on the planet, governor kemp, no stay-at-home order until today," she snapped.

Watch the clip below: