A wide range of responses to the current COVID-19 surge are coming from governors in the United States, from far-right MAGA Republican governors who are downplaying the surge's severity (Florida's Ron DeSantis, Texas' Greg Abbott, South Dakota's Kristie Noem) to non-MAGA Republicans (Vermont's Phil Scott, Maryland's Larry Hogan, Massachusetts' Charlie Baker) and Democrats who are taking it seriously. One of the centrist Democrats who is sounding the alarm is Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who described the situation as "dire" during a September 5 appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Beshear said, "If I had the ability to do it right now, we would have a masking order when you are in public and indoors. We know that's a proven way to slow the spread of the virus and ultimately help our health care capacity…. Our situation is dire."
According to the New York Times, Kentucky "recorded a seven-day average of 4423 new daily cases" on September 4.
Beshear told "Meet the Press" that in Kentucky, "We are setting case records. We have a record number of Kentuckians in the hospital battling COVID in the ICU, battling for their lives. We have a record number of families that are praying for their loved one who is on a ventilator, needing that assistance to breathe."
.@GovAndyBeshear on the Covid surge in Kentucky: "Our situation is dire." "Recent Supreme Court case and our legis… https://t.co/ko6mo4yV1Y— Meet the Press (@Meet the Press) 1630851303.0
The Kentucky governor favors a statewide mask mandate for Kentucky's public schools, but many Republicans in the Bluegrass State oppose that.
"When you're at war," Beshear said during his "Meet the Press" appearance, "you don't get to cry about what you can or can't do. You have got to do your very best every day because this is a battle of life versus death."
Kentucky has a higher COVID-19 vaccination rate than some of the other red states. According to the Mayo Clinic, 57% of Kentucky adults have been at least partially vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus compared to 47% in Mississippi, 45% in Wyoming or 44% in Idaho. Meanwhile, in Vermont (a blue state with a Republican governor), the rate of at least partial vaccination is 76%.
On "Meet the Press," Beshear lamented, "We are well past, I think all across America, the populations that are going to listen to a government official and take the vaccine because of it…. (a) friend might lose their life if they don't get vaccinated."