Atlanta's mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has made an impassioned plea to the public amid Georgia's latest coronavirus updates: "Please wear a mask."
Bottoms made the request via Twitter on Thursday night, shortly after Georgia officials reported a single-day record in coronavirus cases.
"We’ve hit a record high # of COVID cases in GA," Bottoms tweeted. "Hospitals are over capacity, w/ some waiting hours & days for admission into ICU. This not only impacts those w/ COVID, but all other conditions that may lead you to an ER. Health care workers are overwhelmed. PLEASE wear a mask."
Georgia's health department recorded a little over 8,500 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday—breaking the previous one-day record of 7,949 that was tallied on Dec. 24. As pointed out by News4Jax, the department reported an additional 8,769 cases on Friday, bringing the state's total to 575,395 confirmed cases. The state also tallied 17 more COVID-19-related deaths, 1,069 "probable" deaths, and nearly 300 more hospitalizations.
Georgia officials have spent the week urging residents to take precautions when ringing in the new year.
"Please consider the risk of going out on New Year’s Eve," Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday. "We also need Georgians to continue to follow the four things to stop the spread regardless of their New Year’s plans: wear your mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and follow the public health guidance in our executive order."
Bottoms made a similar statement earlier this week, warning that business owners would be cited for failing to comply with capacity limits and violating the set operating hours.
According to data published by John Hopkins University, the United States surpassed 20 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on New Year's Day — about twice as much as what was reported on Nov. 9. As of Friday, the country accounts for nearly a quarter of the world's infections and about a fifth of all virus-related deaths (approximately 346,000).