Nearly 20,000 teenagers in the state of Georgia have gotten their driver's license without the typical caveat. While most licenses are issued after a requisite driving test, Georgia has rescinded the requirement due to a backlog created by the coronavirus pandemic, according to CNN.
As of Wednesday, the state's Department of Driver Services announced that a whopping 19,483 teens have received their license since the requirement was waived in April. "I had been nervous about the driving test -- with the parallel parking and all that," 17-year-old Tucker, Georgia resident Willa Pevey told the outlet. "So I was happy that I didn't have to do it." Pevey is one of a substantial number of teens who are now licensed to drive."
Georgia's response to the pandemic has drawn quite a bit of criticism, even as states begin to lift their respective Stay-at-Home guidelines. In late April, several videos went viral showing crowds in Atlanta with complete disregard for social distancing. This comes even after Gov. Brian Kemp urged all residents to maintain social distancing and stay home as much as possible, despite the fact that he lifted restrictions starting on April 27 -- against the advice of healthcare officials.
"While the current shelter in place order will expire tonight at 11:59 PM for most Georgians, the elderly and medically fragile will still be required to shelter in place through June 12," Kemp tweeted. "I encourage all Georgians to continue to maintain social distancing, limit their travel, and use best practices. Gatherings of more than 10 people will not be allowed unless it is possible to maintain six feet of distance."
President Donald Trump initially supported Kemp's plan, only to publicly decry it on April 20. "I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia," Trump told reporters. "I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he's doing."
On May 1, the state reported 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours since the state officially lifted its guidelines. This brings the total number of infections to over 27,000, including at least 1,140 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins University, there are over 1.2 million cases in the U.S., with over 3.8 million worldwide.