Coronavirus Still Spiking In Kentucky

We have not yet reached the peak of either cases or deaths!

It has been my tenant, that as a society “We are no more healthy than the sickest among us.” In recent months, I restate as a corollary that, “We are no more healthy than the person standing right next to us!”

When I started this, I was actually surprised to see that I have not written for these pages for a full year. Ironically, the last article I wrote dealt with Kentucky’s major epidemic of Hepatitis-A. Fortunately, after more than 5000 cases, 2400 hospitalizations, and 62 deaths, that viral epidemic has simmered back down into its always-threatening background rate. Sadly, the non-medical societal determinants and public health support that permitted and accelerated that outbreak are still with us. It was just a matter of time that another life-threatening epidemic would come calling in the United States and to our Kentucky Home. This global pandemic, Coronavirus (Covid-19), is a particularly nasty one for which the world was ill-prepared. Reams of paper and terabytes of postings have been published attempting to explain why and how things got so bad so quickly, or whether we are overreacting. I expect to add something to those discussions, but not in this first effort. For now: it is what it is– bad! We will have to deal with it.

My readers know I like to play with numbers. I have been trying to assemble data about the number of cases of Coronavirus in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It has not been easy, and I cast no blame. Despite the fact that the virus has been ping-ponging around the world causing death and devastation along the way, we in the United States were not prepared to test for the illness, to trace contacts, or even to take care of large numbers of very sick people. For now, I have been scraping numbers from Governor Andy Beshear’s daily reports to the state about the status of the epidemic and the state’s plans to deal with it. Governor Beshear has drawn national praise for the way he and his administration are managing with this maximally challenging problem and for communicating with the public. I echo that praise. I do not believe we are over-reacting.

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