HEADLINE HEALTH – It is a rare occasion when the governor of Kentucky gets a few moments on live national television to speak to millions of Americans.
Democrat Governor Andy Beshear had such an opportunity during the traditional awarding of the champion’s trophy at Saturday’s 147th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, and thousands of Churchill Downs fans were ready to let him — and the nation — know their feelings.
After a year of business closures and mask requirements imposed by Beshear, he was met with a loud and continuous chorus of boos that abated only when he stepped away from the microphone to allow the owner of the winning horse, Medina Spirit, say a few words.
The event was reportedly the highest attended US sporting event since the start of the pandemic with an official attendance of 51,838. Reporters stated that due to travel restrictions, this year’s crowd was primarily made up of Bluegrass State residents.
The traditional singing of My Old Kentucky Home was replaced by an instrumental rendition performed of the state song by the University of Louisville marching band, as public officials consider singing in public to be a health risk.
The event took place a day after Beshear said 2.5 million Kentuckians need to be vaccinated before he will fully reopen the state. Republican lawmakers have criticized the governor, pointing to other states that have already reopened, WKYT reported:
“It isn’t about just setting a number and then everything changes. It’s about making us safe,” Gov. Beshear said.
Republican lawmakers are pushing back. The state’s U.S. Senator Rand Paul tweeted “FL is open. TX is open…. But still not Kentucky.”
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Attorney General Daniel Cameron expressed similar comments. But health experts say what works for one place may not work for another.
“There are so many factors that go into it. The number of people vaccinated inside a locality, hospital capacity,” said Allison Adams, vice president for policy with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky … Read more.