As COVID-19 cases begin to plateau after holiday gatherings, vaccine rollout has given hope to many - and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear suggested a significant update in that area this week.
“We are having to move our vaccine update to Thursday…[as] we believe we are going to have a major announcement on Thursday,” Beshear said during his daily briefing on Jan. 12.
Beshear announced 3,053 new cases for Jan. 12, making it the fourth-highest Tuesday of reporting during the pandemic. Hospitalization numbers are up accordingly, with standing at 1,733 total hospitalizations and 397 Individuals in the ICU.
Lexington-Fayette County Health reported 154 new COVID-19 cases for Jan. 12, with the biggest increase in the 20 - 44 age ranges.
Beshear reported 22 new deaths for the state; however, that number is inflated by a small lag in reporting from Boyle County.
In positive news, the positivity rate has dropped slightly to 12.23% and the number of people on ventilators dropped by two, to 205. Beshear emphasized (made emphasis) that the positivity rate has plateaued a bit, since in the recent weeks the number was steadily climbing before settling around 12%.
“We are sure this is a surge caused by gatherings through the holidays, but there is a chance in what we are seeing in the data...that maybe now they’ve changed their behavior back to being very careful,” Beshear said of the recent spike. He said that the data in the next couple of days and leading into next week will be critical for confirming whether people are taking guidelines seriously.
There are no plans currently for future restrictions as of now.
Beshear prepped viewers for a big announcement regarding vaccines on Thursday, following policy changes from the federal government this week.
The Trump administration announced that it will no longer hold back its stock of doses for booster shots, meaning that there will be a surge of available vaccines in the coming weeks.
Critics have warned that this could lead to a lack of follow-up shots later and that many of those newly available doses may not be used, as some states struggle to cope with the logistical and cultural challenges of mass vaccinations.
“Our challenge in planning is we have to make sure people can get those second doses. Being really careful when the big amount comes is, if we immediately vaccinate everyone with that, which is what we want to do, is there going to be sufficient amounts three or four weeks later to get that booster shot. Which is what we're working on right now,” Beshear said of the vaccine supply.
The federal government also decided to expand vaccinations to people over 65 with pre-existing health conditions, a demographic that Beshear pointed out was already in Kentucky’s “1C” plan.
Beshear detoured from COVID-19 updates to respond to political turmoil in Kentucky following the mobbing of the Capitol last week, and subsequent fallout across the country.
Beshear made it clear that he strongly condemns those who bully, intimidate and fan the flames of hate and anger.
Over the weekend Kentucky politicians introduced impeachment charges against Beshear, and online activity has turned the narrative to violence.
Jacob Clark, House representative for District 18, posted a video on Facebook which incites threats towards Beshear.
“God is going to snipe me...and [has] his handgun right above his left shoulder,” Beshear pointed out in his descriptions of the post on Facebook.
Threats have previously been made against Beshear; in May of 2020, protestors hung an effigy of him outside the Capitol in Frankfort. Online threats were made against him in April of 2020 as well.
“We cannot, as a country, and as a government, lift these folks up. It is dangerous, it is fanning the flames of their hate, and of their anger, and whether this was something foul against me or anybody else - going out there and playing patty cake with these so-called militias that stormed our U.S. capital and murdered a D.C. Capitol police officer - and to put everybody else in danger, is just wrong,” Beshear said.