Former Kentucky House speaker talks losing friends to COVID-19, criticizes those politicizing health crisis

Posted at 7:57 PM, Nov 18, 2020

JAMESTOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky's former House speaker criticized those who politicize and downplay the coronavirus's severity on social media after opening up about losing several people to COVID-19.

Rep. Jeff Hoover told LEX 18 he lost three clients turned friends in a week. Hoover said he was compelled to make the post on his Twitter page after seeing several people claiming the virus "isn't real."

"Folks, it's real. I've experienced it," Hoover said. "If there is someone in Kentucky who has not yet been affected directly and personally [by the virus], they need to count their blessings."

Hoover said one of the people he recently lost was an old high school classmate.

"I talked to him Thursday. Saturday night, he was on a ventilator, and he died Monday morning," he said.

Hoover also served as a legal consultant to an elderly couple who both fell sick and passed away within days of each other.

"As a result of COVID, both of them passed away outside of the presence of each other or any family members," he explained. "I was very emotional about that."

Hoover said he is frustrated by people who believe the coronavirus and its responses are created to push a political agenda.

"It's not a political issue. It's not a Republican issue. It's not a Democrat issue. It's a public health issue. It's a public health crisis. As Kentuckians, we all need to come together and realize that," Hoover said. "We need everybody to realize this is real life. People are hurting. People are sick. People are dying. We all need to step up and do what we are asked to do regardless of how inconvenient we may think it is."

With COVID-19 cases continuing to spike around the state, Hoover asks Kentuckians to listen closely to health officials in the coming months.

"I would encourage all of us as Kentuckians to follow the advice and recommendations that are being given to us. We can do that for a few more weeks or a few more months when a vaccine is readily available for all of us," Hoover said.

He said following the health guidelines is a small price to help keep others healthy and alive.