Georgia Republicans sounded the lockdown alarm Sunday after Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff said he would consider supporting a temporary shutdown to combat the novel coronavirus if recommended by public-health experts.
Asked by CNN host Dana Bash if he would back “harsher restrictions in Georgia, like closing restaurants and businesses temporarily,” Mr. Ossoff replied, “I think we should follow the expertise of public-health experts, like those of the CDC, which is based here in Georgia.”
“And if that is the consensus of the public health community, we need to take that advice very seriously,” said Mr. Ossoff on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And politicians need to recognize the limits of our own knowledge and wisdom. Epidemiologists who dedicate their careers and their training to studying the spread of infectious disease are qualified to advise us on the correct mitigation procedures.”
He said the “problem we have had all year is that politicians have been suppressing and ignoring public health advice. It’s time to trust the experts, listen to public-health professionals, in a public-health crisis.”
Ms. Bash asked: “So if they said shut things down temporarily, you would be all for it?”
“If the CDC and its leadership gave a strong indication that those kinds of stronger mitigation measures are necessary to save lives and contain the spread of the virus, it would be malpractice for politicians to ignore that advice,” Mr. Ossoff said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control.
The Georgia Republican Party warned that Mr. Ossoff, who is challenging Republican Sen. David Perdue in the Jan. 5 run-off election, and “the radical Democrats would lock our country down until the American people become completely dependent on the government.”
A member of President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s coronavirus advisory board—Dr. Michael Osterholm—has floated the idea of a four- to six-week national shutdown, which the Georgia GOP said would give Mr. Ossoff “all the justification he needs to support a national lockdown.”
Mr. Ossoff stressed that politicians need to listen to public-health experts on slowing the spread of COVID-19 amid a surge in case numbers.
“There are more than 2,000 Americans dying per day. The spread is out of control,” said Mr. Ossoff. “And the problem is, we have ignored the public-health experts. So, I will be listening to them and not to political consultants, pollsters, or folks who are looking out for their own financial interests, like my opponent.”
Georgia GOP spokesperson Abigail Sigler said that the run-off election represents a “clear choice between socialism and freedom.”
“Jon Ossoff supports a national lockdown and seeks to keep the entire country shut inside until we are completely dependent on the federal government for everything,” said Ms. Sigler in a statement. “We cannot allow that to happen.”