Kentucky newspapers offer editorial comment on acceleration of the pandemic and the governor’s response to it

Kentucky’s recent surge in coronavirus cases and covid-19 hospitalizations, and the governor’s latest emergency orders in response, has prompted editorial commentary from several newspapers.

“November feels eerily similar to April and May, when covid-19 cases weren’t as numerous but the virus was just as furious,” said The Daily Independent of Ashland. “Whether or not you agree with him, Gov. Andy Beshear has proven he’s not simply out to collect votes. He won’t shy away from making an unpopular decision, but he genuinely seems to base his actions upon how many lives might be saved.”

The paper added, “The local economy will suffer, but, ideally, fewer people will be infected with the virus — and fewer will die. . . . We must band together as a community once again, just as we did in April and May, and support local businesses. If it’s not currently in your routine to do so, make it part of your daily habits. Think local, eat local (carry-out) and shop local (with a mask).”

The State Journal of Frankfort also endorsed Beshear’s orders: “We firmly believe the governor is taking the steps necessary to slow an overwhelming increase in coronavirus cases and deaths in nearly every corner of Kentucky.

Noting Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr’s criticism of Beshear’s latest orders, the newspaper said, “What we have been asked to do during the last eight months — limiting our contacts, practicing social distancing and wearing face masks in public — is not difficult or political. Instead of creating division, we expect our leaders to work together toward the common goal of crushing the coronavirus.”

On Nov. 18, the day that Beshear ordered in-person schooling to stop as of Nov. 23, the Bowling Green Daily News said “We believe the appropriate path forward is to continue trusting school officials to do everything in their power to make classrooms and school buildings as safe as possible. Some virus cases among staff and students are inevitable, but until it is definitively shown that the school environment itself is actively worsening the spread, we believe it is in any community’s best interest to maintain in-person teaching options for those who wish to use them.”

The editorial cited “the advice of educators and mental health experts who are nearly uniform in noting that many students are harmed socially and academically by a lack of in-person instruction. Not only that, but a recent study by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, as described in a report in the Daily News, offers a new round of data illustrating the burdens that remote instruction places on many working families, such as difficulty scheduling child care and accessing reliable internet service.”

The Daily News hasn’t opined on Beshear’s latest moves, but its reliably conservative editorial page has criticized his previous orders.

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