Michael Stipe has called on politicians in his home state of Georgia to bring in measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the university city of Athens.
Georgia has been one of the worst-hit U.S. states by the pandemic, with the spread among students returning to the University of Georgia in Athens this month (Sep20) causing particular concern.
Michael, who formed R.E.M. in Athens and still has a base there, added his voice to those calling for new measures to be brought in to stop the spread of the disease.
In an op-ed in The Guardian, the "Everybody Hurts" hitmaker wrote, "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."
After slamming Georgia's Governor Brian Kemp for being "slow to order safety measures and quick to lift them," he suggested several measures to halt the increase in Covid-19 cases.
These included limiting bars to outdoor seating, cutting the size permitted of gatherings, playing college American football games in empty stadiums, and increasing testing capacity and extending it to fraternity housing.
Closing his message, he added, "I am calling on the University of Georgia specifically, and Governor Kemp, to step up, and step up now. The measures I have mentioned are easily within our reach, and this week is the time to implement and embrace them before further disaster."