Dr. Sanjay Gupta was visibly furious on Thursday afternoon as he watched footage of Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp defend his delayed response to the coronavirus pandemic by claiming that he had just found out it can be transmitted asymptomatically.
“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” Kemp said on Wednesday when he finally announced a state-wide shelter-in-place order. He referred to the revelation as a “game-changer.”
“I’m really kind of stunned by what he said, because we’ve known that for quite some time, haven’t we?” anchor Anderson Cooper said to his CNN colleague.
“Anderson, this is inexcusable,” Gupta said, adding, “My kids who go to school in Georgia knew that a month ago.” He noted that the CDC, which is based in Kemp’s state, warned about asymptomatic transmission as early as Feb. 4. “We’ve known this for a long time,” he said. “To say that we’ve just found out in the last 24 hours and that’s why we’re doing this, this is just not right.”
Gupta went on to say that he finds it “very hard to believe” that Kemp, who narrowly defeated Stacey Abrams in 2018 while serving as Georgia’s secretary of state, was being honest in his comments while Cooper said that the governor is guilty of “political malpractice” if not outright “criminal” negligence.
“If it’s true that he just heard that, he just learned that,” Cooper said later, “then he has not been paying attention and he has not been doing his job. That is completely irresponsible.”
“He’s not been paying attention to the most important issue that he’ll probably ever run into in his lifetime and certainly as governor,” Gupta added. “And he says, ‘I just found out about this?’” All he could do was shake his head in disgust.