Weekly total of coronavirus cases is highest yet, but 7-day rolling average falls; officials note Kentucky has low covid-19 death rate
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Gov. Andy Beshear reported 390 new coronavirus cases Saturday, bringing the unadjusted total for the official Monday-Sunday reporting week to 4,492, the most yet. But even with cases on the uptick, the state’s top doctor noted that the state’s death rate from the disease is much lower than the nation’s.
Beshear said in a news release, “The total number of new covid-19 cases has increased this week, which shows the disease is still very active in Kentucky, but on a positive note, it appears that Kentuckians have stopped the exponential growth of the virus. Team Kentucky has again shown that if we socially distance, wear masks and wash our hands, we have a better chance of continuing to reopen our economy safely and get more Kentuckians back to school and work.”
The reporting week’s preliminary figure is 386 cases, or 9.4 percent, than the largest weekly number, 4,106, reported July 27 through Aug. 2, The total number of new cases for the week remained more than 1 per 1,000, one metric that can push a state into the “red zone” of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
However, the seven-day rolling average of new daily cases is 642, down a bit from Saturday’s 646 and well below the record 670 set Friday.
As usual, Sunday’s report did not include some data, including the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days. However, it did note a metric not often mentioned. Health Commissioner Steven Stack said Kentucky’s mortality rate for deaths related to covid-19 is 2.1%, compared to 3.2% nationally.
“This success is a combination of accomplishments including keeping covid-19 from spreading out of control, excellent health care, and more widespread testing than many other states,” said Stack.
Even so, he urged, “We can’t allow ourselves to forget that this virus spreads rapidly and is very dangerous. Let’s continue to come together as Team Kentucky to keep ourselves, our friends, families and communities as safe as possible.”
Beshear reported three more deaths from covid-19, raising the state’s total to 813. The fatalities were all women: a 67-year-old from Fayette County, a 73-year-old from Perry County and a 91-year-old from Franklin County.
Beshear reported that 13 of the newly reported cases were in children age 5 and younger.
Jefferson County had 41% of the new cases Sunday, with 160. Other counties with more than five new cases include Madison, 26; Fayette, 24; Kenton, 13; Warren, 12; Marion, 11; Bell, 10; Adair, 9; Bullitt, Greenup and Simpson, 6 each; and Boone, Scott and Woodford, 5 each.
In other covid-19 news Sunday:
- After three days on the University of Kentucky campus, Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Lindsay Ellis reports that the prevailing sentiment of students returning in the midst of a pandemic was “This is worth it.” She explains, “The moment’s excitement was a result of the university’s intense planning: The hundreds of pages of guidance. The Zoom meetings. The thousands of pieces of furniture taken out of classrooms, dining halls, and lounges, and put in storage to reduce capacity and create distance. The excitement, for a moment, was louder than fears about student behavior, about faculty and staff health, about the wisdom of the togetherness on which the coronavirus thrives.”
- “A Deadly Coronavirus Was Inevitable. Why Was No One Ready?” The Wall Street Journal asks, and then explains, in a long story that makes these points, among others: “Governments had ignored clear warnings and underfunded pandemic preparedness. They mostly reacted to outbreaks, instead of viewing new infectious diseases as major threats to national security. And they never developed a strong international system for managing epidemics, even though researchers said the nature of travel and trade would spread infection across borders. . . Officials made mistakes earlier this year when the severity of the outbreak became clear. Some were understandable blunders made during a panic; others were simply blunders. . . Efforts were weakened by a revolving door of officials, among other distractions and missteps. In May 2018, John Bolton, then President Trump’s national security adviser, dismantled a National Security Council unit that had focused on global health security and biodefense, with staff going to other units. . . . It pushed emerging disease threats down one level in the NSC hierarchy, making pandemics compete for attention with issues such as North Korea, said Beth Cameron, a previous senior director of the unit. . . . Deteriorating relations with China reduced Washington’s activities there just as researchers were becoming more certain of the threat from coronaviruses. The CDC cut personnel in China from 44 to 14 and said it expects to have 10 U.S. and local staff by the end of this year. The agency said it reallocated programs to other countries with greater needs.”