COVID-19 Update For Thursday, June 4
On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced 295 new cases of COVID-19. This is the second straight day where there has been a high count. On Wednesday, the governor announced 265 new confirmed cases. There have been 10,705 total confirmed cases, including 226 probable cases, Beshear said.
Despite the recent spike in infections, Kentucky continues to reopen its economy. On Thursday, the governor announced historical horse racing facilities have been added to list of businesses which can reopen on June 8. He also announced the state has reached an agreement with NASCAR to hold four days of races in July.
Because the spike in confirmed infections has only happened over the last two days, the governor said there is not enough information for the state to change their plans. He said, statewide, cases are on a downward trajectory.
“It’s not enough data to say that I am concerned,” Beshear said. So far, 262,714 tests—including 26,789 serology tests—have been administered. He said they are finding more asymptomatic people and the number of ICU beds being used by COVID-19 patients is still low. State health officials have estimated that one out of four patients do not demonstrate symptoms and only 67 patients are currently in the ICU.
The governor said his administration would continue to monitor the situation.
“We’re going to watch the numbers,” Beshear said.
There are currently 185 testing sites across the state. Beshear said the state’s testing capacity has grown exponentially since Friday, March 6, when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kentucky and the governor declared a state of emergency. He said the actions taken by his administration, which have been questioned by Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Republican legislators, were necessary at the time because the state had no other tool to stop the spread of the disease than to shut down much of the state’s economy.
“The actions were not just justified, they were effective,” Beshear said. “We were fighting a virus without any tools.”
In addition to the increase in testing capacity, he said the actions his administration is currently taking, which includes using $112 million in federal funds to create a contact tracing program, will allow the state to move “surgically” in the future.
So far, 3,303 Kentuckians have recovered while 458 people have died, including eight over the past day, the governor announced. Yesterday, he announced the youngest Kentuckian to die of COVID-19, a nine-month-old infant from Hopkins County.
Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said the case will remain open while authorities try to determine the cause of death. While Stack said it may be possible that the child, could have died from another cause, such as sudden infant death syndrome, it is possible that COVID-19 caused the death.
Stack said statistics show the overwhelming number of children don’t show symptoms of the disease and encouraged parents to not be overly worried. At the same time, he asked families to continue following social distancing guidelines.
“This is a very serious disease. It is not influenza,” Stack said.
If there is another spike in infections, the state has no alternative to shutting down businesses and places where people gather, he said. There is still no treatment nor vaccine for COVID-19.
The governor was asked about the ongoing protests across the nation and a possible spike in infections.
The public is focused on important public safety issues that need to be addressed, Gov. Beshear said. He said he believed people could both protest injustice and maintain social distancing. “I think there are ways to address both,” said Beshear, who noted COVID-19 disproportionately affects the African American population. While they only make up eight percent of the state’s population, black Kentuckians account for 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths, he said.
While acknowledging that social distancing is harder during demonstrations, Beshear asked protestors to get tested, especially those who may have someone at home who has a compromised immune system.
“Part of public safety right now is getting tested,” the governor said.
Worldwide, there are now 6.6 million confirmed cases, according to worldometers.info, resulting in 391,633 deaths. So far, 3.2 million people across the world have recovered.
In the U.S., there are now 1.9 million confirmed cases, with 21,154 being added since yesterday. So far, 110,130 Americans have died, with 988 dying since yesterday. According to the website, 706,299 have recovered.
While the US remains the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, cases numbers are exploding in Brazil and Russia. Brazil has a population of 212 million and currently has 606,085 positive cases, while Russia has a population of 145 million and 441,108 confirmed cases. Both nations have passed Spain, the United Kingdom and Italy.
Over the past day, Brazil has recorded 31,890 new cases and 1,492 new deaths and the nation has recorded 34,039 deaths so far. The explosion of COVID-19 cases in Brazil casts serious doubt on the commonly expressed hope that COVID-19 will disappear when temperatures get hotter here in the U.S. Brazil is bisected by the equator and the average temperature year round is 76-degrees.