Beshear Says Vaccine Candidate Could Be “Game Changer”, As COVID-19 Case Surge Continues
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear in his Monday press conference on the coronavirus highlighted good news about a potential vaccine saying data on a Pfizer vaccine, that the company says may be 90% effective against COVID-19, is preliminary but could be a “game changer.”
Kentucky Department for Public Health Director Steven Stack warned the state faces an “all time level” high for new weekly cases, with 81 counties classified in the “red zone” with “critical” COVID-19 spread.
“We can either choose to do the steps necessary to slow the spread of this disease or the disease itself will cause society to choose to alter its behavior,” Stack said.
Beshear and Stack also emphasized as fall and winter months are approaching, holiday gatherings are a huge concern If people ignore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines during Thanksgiving and Christmas, Stack said, they could experience a “supercharge” of this pandemic.
He said out of numerous vaccine candidates, two could be approved for emergency use authorization,which could allow for the release of 50 million doses to the public. Stack said this means that 25 million people would have access to the vaccine and they plan to be distributed to those who are most vulnerable.
As new medications have shown improved treatment options, Stack added he remains optimistic with improved treatment options, but he said 20% of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 could experience long-term health complications. Beshear said it’s important to wash hands, practice social distancing, and implement other precautions against the virus.
Beshear also reported 1,745 new cases, 197 of which were ages 18 years old or younger. This brings the total COVID-19 cases ever in the state up to 122,567. The positivity rate is now 7.49%, the highest since May, with 300 individuals in the ICU. Beshear also reported 11 deaths, bringing the total number of Kentuckians lost from COVID-19 to 1,576.
In other news, Beshear introduced a new campaign to encourage adults to go back into college to increase their employability. He said the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship that will offer free or reduced tuition for courses that prepare Kentuckians to work in healthcare, construction, transportation, logistics, and other demanding areas of study.