FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the coronavirus situation evolves daily, Governor Andy Beshear has been walking Kentucky through the changes that need to be made.
On Tuesday, in his first one-on-one interview since the virus hit Kentucky, Beshear told LEX 18 everyone needs to make changes so people can get through this together.
"To defeat this coronavirus - which we will, we will get through it, we will come out on the other side - we are going to have to look at all of the different places that people come together in crowds," said Beshear. "We'll have to take additional actions to make sure that's not happening. But we also really need people to take it upon themselves and to make it apart of their duty - and we're really talking about duty to each other, duty to the Commonwealth, patriotic duty to America - to make sure you are avoiding those types of situations. The more that it happens, the more we have to step in and take steps."
Beshear stressed that it all comes down to very simple tasks - good hygiene and social distancing.
"This is a very real outbreak, but we also know that all it takes to protect the people that we care about the most is social distancing - is ensuring we don't create a chance for this virus to spread," said Beshear. "So everybody out there - please - follow these guidelines and protect one another."
Beshear and medical experts say most people who get the new coronavirus will be okay. However, some people, like those in vulnerable populations, can get seriously sick. So the governor wants everyone to take steps to protect those people.
"80% of people who get the coronavirus will show little to no symptoms. But if they are not following the guidelines - what they will do is very likely spread it to someone that won't be okay. This is a virus that can really hurt the most vulnerable. Those are people over 60. Those are people with heart, lung, and kidney disease - compromised immune system, diabetes," said Beshear. "Listen, my parents are in their 70s. We all need to be responsible, not just for us, but our duty to one another."
Beshear says this is a situation that requires everyone's help and kindness.
"If you aren't following the guidelines - if you're intentionally engaging in the type of activities where you're choosing to go to crowds - you're not helping and you may be hurting others who are depending on us to do the right thing to defeat this virus," said Beshear. "I believe everyone out there can and should follow the guidelines - and we need you to. If you see people that aren't, say something - but be nice. The most important thing to get through this is that we stay calm, and that we ultimately be nice and kind to each other."
Part of social distancing includes working remote. The governor has been encouraging employers to allow their employees to work from home, if possible.
"What I'd say to those employers, you have a duty too," said Beshear. "Look at your business and your business model. Spread people out, offer paid sick leave. These are all steps, that if you take, prevent us from possibly having to take other steps."
Beshear stressed that no event right now is too big to postpone or cancel. He says everyone should follow the example of Churchill Downs - which postponed the Kentucky Derby - and put people's safety first.
"Let me say to Churchill Downs - thank you," said Beshear. "That is an incredibly responsible decision. I know how much the Derby means to that company and their bottom line. They are truly putting people first - even above their business, and they're a publicly traded company. That's the type of example that we need to see. Others doing the same is really important."