While Governor Andy Beshear was in town Thursday to make a ceremonial check for the allocation of just over $ 1 million to highway safety projects for three local schools, he also took the opportunity to share the pandemic response and the to present the incipient recovery of his government.
Kentucky reported its first case of COVID-19 15 months ago. With more than 2.06 million citizens vaccinated, the governor noted that the total makes up about 84 percent of all Kentuckers over 65.
The governor encouraged all those present who were not vaccinated to reconsider. Following the presentation, Governor Beshear noted that the current prevalence rate among unvaccinated Kentuckers is up to 97 percent.
“What we saw in March and April – our first two months after a significant number of people were fully vaccinated – is over 90 percent of all cases, hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated Kentuckers,” said Beshear. “The vaccines have been so effective that long-term care, one of the first areas to be vaccinated, has reduced more than two-thirds of total deaths to less than a third. You look absolutely. We also see that they are working on the spread and when there are breakthrough cases we see that they are very mild. These are gifts from God. “
For those still hesitant, Beshear teased an announcement posted on Friday: a new incentive called Shot at a Million with two types of draws.
Kentuckers ages 18 and older who have received at least their first dose of a Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, or Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, can enter for one of three 1 million draws US dollars to win.
Kentuckers ages 12 to 17 who have received at least their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can enroll to receive one of 15 full scholarships to a Kentucky public college, university, technical or business school win, the lessons, room and board and books.
Learn more at shotatamillion.ky.gov.
“We really see hope,” said Beshear on Thursday as he turned to the Commonwealth economy. “I’m optimistic now. After these 15 months we deserve some optimism and a lot of good news.”
The governor pointed to two events in the past few weeks that indicate the strength of the Kentucky comeback.
First, Kentucky was ranked # 1 in the region for economic development by a business magazine called Site Selection, # 1 among states with fewer than 5 million residents, and # 3 per capita and # 7 overall.
Then both Fitch Ratings and Moody’s released positive reports on the state’s economic outlook.
“[Moody’s] Kentucky’s economy is reported to be ‘enthusiastically’ recovering, “said Beshear.” So now I use that term as much as I can. “
But the total profits of the state are not enough; The governor said he wanted such an opportunity to “reach every single part of Kentucky, including here in Pulaski County. …
“Why not us? Why not now, ”Beshear continued. “At a time when this density of New York City or Los Angeles has never been so unattractive to groups … if we have national attention on leadership during COVID, why can’t we lead in the post-COVID economy? We don’t do this in all parts of Kentucky. I’ve seen proof that we can. “
Following the presentation, the Commonwealth Journal asked the governor his thoughts on unemployment benefits and the struggle some companies are struggling to recruit.
“The employment situation right now is more complicated than a red or blue dispute raging in Washington,” Beshear said. “It’s about the question of whether the people are fully vaccinated, whether they have lost the care options, whether they are looking for a new job. I think we have to make decisions based on sound economic principles and not just fall. ”In some national argument.
“The extra $ 300 [benefit] “Right now we’re putting $ 34 million into our economy every week,” he continued. “The biggest place it’s spent is groceries, but it’s also spent on retail and restaurants – areas that have been hit so hard and are now on a resurgence. If we just cut that down, as some states are doing, we will hurt the very companies that have suffered so much from the pandemic. “
The governor said his government was working on an incentive program to keep money flowing through the economy and get people back to work.
“Our goal is to be smart and start hearing people by [unemployment] into the workforce, “said Beshear.