Kentucky Protests Defy Orders, Boost Coronavirus Cases & Extend Lockdown
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit high gear in America, most governors have been pleading with their people to be safe for themselves, their families and neighbors.
Once it became clear that the deadly virus was airborne and spreading -- undetected -- from person to person, governors took it a step further and began issuing stay-at-home orders. The most drastic move any of us have seen was made to curb the greatest health risk of our lifetime.
The message was clear: "We do not want you to unknowingly spread the coronavirus. We have no vaccine. We have no other more effective weapons to curb transmission and help preserve lives than social distancing. Staying home, a simple act, is best for now."
But across America, the pain of surviving without means began to grow. A small, but vocal minority suspected of the science, even as the proof of the dead and dying continued to grow. They viewed the government's policies as punishment and began to cry foul as their "normal" lives were disrupted.
These citizens acted out in different ways, but all of them took their resistance outside their homes. Some loudly show their disapproval in protests on the streets. Others doggedly fill the pews at their beloved house of worship, as they did in Kentucky on Easter Sunday.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear had gone as far as to put out a press release stating that anyone attending an in-person religious service during the coronavirus pandemic will be notified that it is a misdemeanor violation. He'd hoped the message would deter someone from leaving home and prevent what he feared was coming.
But to no avail.
During a Sunday press conference, Beshear was forced to announce the highest jump in coronavirus infections that his state has seen yet -- 273 new cases of COVID-19 bringing Kentucky's state total to 2,960 with 148 fatalities.
Beshear had endured 100 protestors interrupting a previous press conference and separately, a lawsuit by Pastor Jack Roberts of Louisville's Maryville Baptist Church that claimed enforcing a stay-at-home order on Easter violated the constitutional right to religious freedom.
Yet the governor persisted, determined to try to keep people safe through the crest of the coronavirus wave.
Now, though, the state's case numbers are clearly rising. According to The Hill, "Local outlets report that at least 13 percent, or roughly 385, of COVID-19 cases have been recorded in nursing home residents. Beshear also told reporters Sunday that 33 additional residents have tested positive for the virus, as well as eight nursing home staffers."
No matter what ultimately caused it -- the protests, the church services, or other "civil disobedience," citizens' refusal to follow stay-at-home ultimately backfired. Instead of speeding up their "freedom," the minority's actions helped to extend the amount of time that Beshear must keep the state closed in order to meet President Trump and the CDC's guidelines.
With cases now climbing, Besher was forced to declare that Kentucky will not reopen economic sectors or relax restrictions until there is a downward trajectory of reported cases for 14 more days.
“We’re still in the midst of the fight,” Beshear said.