The Democratic governor of Kentucky on Sunday described the spike in Covid cases in the state as “bleak,” pointing out that Republican lawmakers have curtailed their ability to control the record wave of infections there.
“If I had the opportunity to do it now, we would have a masking order for you when you are in public and indoors,” Governor Andy Beshear said on NBC’s Meet the Press news program. “We know this is a proven way to slow the spread of the virus and ultimately support our health capacities.”
Kentucky recorded 4,423 new daily cases on Saturday, a seven-day average, according to a database from the New York Times. The number of deaths and hospitalizations has also increased. “Our situation is dire,” said Mr. Beshear.
The state’s Supreme Court recently ruled that a lower court cannot block attempts by lawmakers to restrict Mr Beshear’s emergency powers to deal with Covid. He had tried to enforce a comprehensive mask mandate in schools.
Mr Beshear has called a special session of the state legislatures on Tuesday to look at the crisis.
The National Guard, FEMA and nursing students have been deployed across the state to help hospitals, Mr Beshear said.
“When you’re at war, you can’t cry about what you can or can’t do,” he said. “You have to do your best every day because this is a life-and-death struggle.”
In the state, 68 percent of people over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine and 58 percent are fully vaccinated, according to a Times database. This puts Kentucky in the middle compared to the vaccination rates in other states.
“We have, I believe, across America far behind the populations who will listen to a government official and take the vaccine because of it,” said Mr Beshear. “We’re probably even past a local official, pastor, or other.”
He attributed some of the state’s vaccine reluctance to misinformation and urged individuals to speak to loved ones in addition to public information campaigns.
“People are going to have to break that Thanksgiving dinner rule,” he said. “You have to call or go to an unvaccinated person whom you love and care for. You will have to jeopardize your relationship with this person because you have never been exposed to greater risk. “
“I think it is this kind of care and the person who is willing to do this and make this sacrifice that finally reaches those who are not vaccinated.”
He added, “You could lose a friend through this conversation, but that friend could lose his life if not vaccinated.”