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US coronavirus update: Latest on cases, deaths and reopening the country

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp listens to a question from the press during a tour of a temporary hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on April 16.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp listens to a question from the press during a tour of a temporary hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on April 16. Ron Harris/Pool/AP

Both Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday night to express support for the governor’s decision to reopen his state, offering praise and complimenting him on the job he’s doing, according to a source familiar with the call.

Another person familiar with the call said it went well.

The governor, who made the announcement on reopening his state Monday, did not inform White House beforehand, according to a source familiar with the decision. The source added that Kemp made the decision at least a day before the announcement.

Kemp’s decision has drawn criticism from public health experts who have repeatedly stressed the dangers of relaxing social distancing measures too early.

Georgia hit its projected peak for daily deaths on April 7, according to an influential model often cited by the White House. 

But that same model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, says that Georgia shouldn’t start relaxing social distancing until after June 15 — when the state can begin considering other measures to contain the virus, such as contact tracing and isolation. 

CNN’s Nick Valencia reported that Candice Broce, Gov. Kemp’s communications and deputy executive counsel, defended the governor���s announcement, saying the state has satisfied all criteria required by the White House to reopen. 

She called any suggestion otherwise “inaccurate.”

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