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Founder of healthcare org: Beshear should consider shutting bars

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Posted at 8:44 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 23:16:20-04

(LEX 18) — While cases of COVID-19 rise across the country and hospitalizations surge in various hot spots, Kentucky is still experiencing a plateau, but a seasoned doctor in the state is worried that won’t last long.

“We still have our heads in the sand, thinking ‘It won't happen here in Kentucky, we need to go on just living as we always have,’” said Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, the founder and board chairman of Health Watch USA, a non-profit patient advocacy and healthcare policy research organization. “And that's anything but the truth.”

Dr. Kavanagh is growing increasingly worried that the pleas for people to wear masks are falling on deaf ears.

“I mean, if they're not wearing masks in the grocery store, they're probably not going to wear them in a bar where they're trying to drink at the same time,” Dr. Kavanagh said.

Citing research that shows daily growth in infections would be significantly reduced if 80% of the population wears masks. Dr. Kavanagh suggested the federal government issue a stronger directive on masks.

“If you have a huge outbreak, you can have governors take the lead in putting out fires,” Dr. Kavanagh said. “But to prevent spread between states, the virus knows no geographic boundaries. You need to have a national coherent policy.”

Kavanagh said he worries about the mixed messages on masks coming from the White House, but in the absence of a national policy, he hopes Gov. Andy Beshear will roll back the reopening of bars.

Bars were allowed to open Monday as part of Kentucky’s staggered reopening plans.