FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Gov. Andy Beshear delivered a special address Thursday evening in lieu of his normal media session, attempting to provide both context and encouragement as the pandemic wears on.
The address came after the governor announced Wednesday Kentucky had suffered its thousandth COVID-19-related death, a morbid milestone as much a measure of success against the virus that has led to far more deaths per capita elsewhere.
For that success, Beshear credited the work of Kentuckians following statewide pandemic measures, including the mask requirement, travel advisories and recommendations on remote learning.
“All of these steps have generated criticism,” Beshear said, “but all of them are working.”
Still, Beshear had 22 new COVID-19-related deaths to report Thursday, the largest single-day total since the beginning of the pandemic in March.
“The depths of these losses can’t be explained in numbers alone. These are our neighbors, friends and even healthcare workers," the governor said.
Deaths have been up generally over the last few weeks following Kentucky’s mid-summer case surge, which appears now to have plateaued.
The state’s death total stands at 1,035. Beshear noted that total is destined to rise as the state continues to report weekly case increases, albeit marginal ones.
In the same breath, as he did Wednesday, the governor rebuked the notion that the deaths aren’t “real” or significant, whether because of age, co-occurring conditions or skepticism about how deaths are reported.
“Shame on anybody, including many of our legislators and those that sit online all day that claim those deaths aren’t real," he said. "There are a thousand families that will tell you those deaths are very real and very painful. Let’s be better than that.”