Athens, Georgia, was my home. Its leaders are letting Covid-19 wreak havoc | Michael Stipe

The city that hosts the University of Georgia exemplifies the most dangerous public policy decisions during the pandemic

Although I now call New York City home, Athens, Georgia, has been a base to me since the late 1970s. It’s where I started REM, and it is a place that I have returned to again and again, even as I have travelled and lived in other places around the globe. Sadly, Athens – also home to the University of Georgia – is now a place that exemplifies the most dangerous aspects of public policy decision-making amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Early this year, great friends in Italy, and later in NYC, witnessed suffering and community-wide devastation that should have presaged wise action around the globe, so others would not have to experience the same pattern of heartbreaking deaths. Unfortunately, cities here in Georgia were soon to face the burden of some of America’s worst tendencies toward magical thinking and ignorance of science, and the most basic of disease prevention tactics. Our leaders are largely to blame.

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