Kentucky Sees Sharpest Rise In Covid-19 Cases Following Anti-Lockdown Protests

Governor Andy Beshear in Kentucky, 2013. Nancy Mao Smith/Shutterstock

Rachael Funnell 22 Apr 2020, 14:44

The coronavirus pandemic is still in full swing as America becomes the epicenter for disease. While cases globally are still rising, some of the worst affected areas in Europe are starting to see a reduction in deaths and emerging cases thanks to lockdown measures that saw one third of humanity staying at home to prevent the spread of the deadly pathogen. Despite these positive results, there are groups in parts of America now protesting against lockdown measures. An anti-lockdown protest in Kentucky attended by 100 people was followed by the sharpest rise in cases since coronavirus arrived in the area, ironically demonstrating the importance of lockdown in the face of those who disagree with it.

At time of writing, the US has seen over 45,000 deaths from the Covid-19 disease and has over 825,000 confirmed cases. Despite being announced as the epicenter for the deadly disease, some areas of the country are easing lockdown measures while the majority of the country remains under stay at home orders. Led by Governor Andy Beshear, Kentucky is still under restrictions and will remain so until the region has seen a decline in the number of reported cases for a minimum of 14 days, as per the White House guidelines.

The continuation of restrictions has triggered protest action from angry citizens who are desperate for local businesses to reopen, with over 500,000 Kentucky residents having filed for unemployment in March. Protests in Frankfort climaxed last week as around 100 citizens rallied to end lockdown.

In a press conference on Sunday, April 19, Governor Beshear reported that, following the protests, 273 new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed, constituting the highest daily increase in cases the region has announced since the pandemic began. The Kentucky Department of Health reports that the current number of cases is now 2,960 with 148 fatalities from the disease.

According to a report from the Courier-Journal, the protest took place last Wednesday (April 15) and saw around 100 participants denouncing Beshear's adherence to the vital lockdown measures with slogans including “You’re not the King. We won’t kiss your ring,” while failing to observe the recommended physical distance from each other or wear protective items. Led by former Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, the chants were aimed at Beshear, who was giving a Covid-19 update in a room nearby, for enforcing social-distancing orders that prevented residents from working. Over 10 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits since the outbreak. 

The emotion is catching across the country, as in Denver, Colorado, nurses formed a counter-protest against lockdown protestors, blocking their cars in the road by standing defiantly in their scrubs. Colorado currently has over 10,000 confirmed cases and has seen 468 deaths from Covid-19. 

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