By Al Cross and Melissa Patrick
Gov. Andy Beshear stepped up his rhetoric against “misinformation” about the coronavirus and said his gradual reopening of Kentucky’s economy is designed to get schools ready to resume regular sessions, more or less on schedule.
Beshear has asked Kentucky schools to consider three options for beginning the next school year: as early as late July; a traditional start in early to mid-August; and a late start, perhaps after Labor Day, depending on the circumstances. But don’t expect pools to open this summer, he said.
Saying people had asked him about his timing of different stages, he explained at his daily briefing, “It’s all aimed at trying to have kids back in class in the fall.”
We’ve got to avoid the temptation for this summer to be like past summers,” he said. “We all want a normal summer but we don’t get a normal summer in the midst of a worldwide health pandemic.”
For the second day in a row, Beshear asked Kentuckians to reject skeptics of the reasons that he says underlie his strategy. After announcing the daily toll of deaths and new cases, he laid out his criticism and rationale:
“Let’s remember that it’s real …. This isn’t made up. It’s a lot worse, and a lot more deadly than the flu. Let’s push aside all that misinformation and maybe even intentional misinformation; let’s push aside the naysayers or those who say we should sacrifice certain folks. I don’t believe that; I believe every Kentuckian has value; I believe every Kentuckian counts. . . . I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure we don’t unnecessarily lose people going forward. That’s where I stand, so I’m gonna do everything I can to reopen this economy, but I stand with trying to save lives each and every day. That’s my bottom line.”
Monday, early in his briefing, Beshear said, “The longer we’ve gone on this, the more intentional misinformation is put out there. It’s put out by some that don’t believe the virus is real, but let’s face it, a lot of what’s on social media right now is created by other countries in a way to try to destabilize us.”
Asked about a lawsuit by organizers of a May 2 protest at the state Capitol, seeking to block any enforcement of a protest planned for May 23, Beshear indicated they have nothing to fear, except the virus. “I want them to be able to protest, but I want them to do it safely,” he said. “Even when they get in a way that wasn’t safe, you haven’t seen any type of, repercussion, but if you’re a leader organizing that rally, shouldn’t you want the people that are there to be safe? . . . My concern is, so many people who are leading these rallies don’t believe this thing is real, otherwise they’d say, ‘Everybody stand six feet apart . . . . wear your masks’.”
Beshear acknowledged that he worries that reopenings will create a false sense of security: “I am a little bit, but I know where we are economically right now, and we’ve got to try to do this, and we’ve got to do it safely.”