Covid-19 deaths in Kentucky are at record levels

Published 1:27 pm Thursday, September 30, 2021

Kentucky reported 82 more deaths from Covid-19 Wednesday, the most in a single day. The state’s death toll from the coronavirus disease is now 8,717.

In the last week, the state has averaged reporting 42 deaths per day. The average was higher for more than two weeks in late January and early February, at one point reaching 47.3 deaths per day.

Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Facebook post that all the deaths reported Wednesday happened in August and September, and that they are hitting certain regions really hard, with 10 of them in Hardin County, six of them in Mercer County, and five in Pulaski County — and in people who are “far too young” to lose.

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“So this is why we need everybody to get vaccinated. And this is why you should be masking up when you are indoors, in public, and outside of your home,” the governor said.

The New York Times notes a correlation between high death rates and votes for Donald Trump in the last election. Kentucky lies exactly on the trendline of the scatterplot of states’ death rates and their 2020 election results.

Deaths are considered a lagging indicator of the virus, so as cases drop the hope would be that deaths from the virus will eventually go down as well.

The good news is that the state’s coronavirus case numbers continue to plateau and the positive-test rate continues to decline incrementally, although Beshear reiterated that it is still too high. Earlier in the pandemic, health officials said the positive-test rate needed to be under 5% for at least two weeks to slow the spread of the virus.

The state reported 3,893 new coronavirus cases, with 32% of them in people 18 and younger. The seven-day average for cases is 3,278 per day. That’s 65 less than Tuesday, when the average jumped by 166 after 12 days of decline.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days dropped for the 21st consecutive day, to 10.05%.

Hospital numbers also dropped again Wednesday. Kentucky hospitals reported 1,995 Covid-19 patients, down 11 from Wednesday; 573 intensive-care patients, down 15, and 384 patients on mechanical ventilation, down 11.

Seven of the state’s 10 hospital regions are using at least 80% of their intensive-care beds, and four are using more than 90%: Barren River, Bluegrass, Northern, and Southeast.

Kentucky’s infection rate over the last seven days remained fifth among the states, where it has hovered for several weeks, The New York Times reports. Alaska, West Virginia, Wyoming and Montana have higher rates than Kentucky.

The state reported an infection rate of 64.84 daily cases per 100,000 residents. Counties with double that rate are Whitley, 144.2; Letcher, 142.5; McCreary, 132.7; and Magoffin, 130.4.

The Times notes, “The political divide over vaccinations is so large that almost every reliably blue state now has a higher vaccination rate than almost every reliably red state.”

In the last seven days, a daily average of 11,984 doses of coronavirus vaccine were given in Kentucky, a 2% decrease over the previous seven, The Washington Post reports.

Kentucky has administered at least one dose of a vaccine to 2.7 million people, covering 71% of the eligible population, 12 and older, and 60.5% of the state’s entire population, according to the Post. At least 2.3 million Kentuckians have been fully vaccinated.

One of the challenges in getting more people vaccinated is the rampant spread of misinformation about them. To address this, YouTube will remove videos spreading misinformation about any approved vaccine, not just those that target the Covid-19 vaccine, Clare Duffy reports for CNN.

Duffy writes, “Users who post misinformation about any ‘currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed to be safe and effective by local health authorities and the WHO’ will have their videos taken down, and will be subject to YouTube’s strike policy and could face removal, the company said in the blog post.”