COVID-19

COVID-19 has been a deeply divisive issue in Washington DC and with the surge of cases across the country will, most likely, continue to be a source of conflict for the rest of this year. In DC we have seen Rand Paul, among others, specifically spread misinformation as he seeks to encourage Kentuckians to not get vaccinated and not wear masks. He has called for people to resist government regulations and guidelines relating to COVID arguing that these guidelines are unscientific based on a few studies he cites. As a researcher myself, I know that no matter what issues you are studying, if you look hard enough you can nearly always find opposing evidence. Rand Paul is risking people’s lives on a few opposing articles he has found that fit his bias. Instead he should be listening to the overwhelming evidence of science that points to the success of vaccines and the ability of cautions, such as masks and social distancing, to drastically reduce the spread of COVID. 

 

If you live in Kentucky and need assistance covering utilities, rent, etc. please scroll to the end of this page and you will find links to resources.

 

Interested in current KY COVID stats? Find them here: https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19 

 

With his proactive and caring action against COVID-19, Governor Beshear helped Kentucky face the initial wave of infection. However, as we see new variants of the virus begin to spread around our state and nation I believe there are several actions we can take to save lives and help control the spread of the virus:

  1. Continued science based education on vaccination and preventative measures. Throughout Kentucky we have already seen community education, vaccine drives, and ads created to educate. It is vital that these efforts be continued at the grassroots level throughout communities in Kentucky and across the country, so that people are educated on the science behind how we can protect ourselves and others from COVID. 

  2. Offer vaccines in schools. With two COVID vaccines now approved for use with children ages 12 and older, I would propose partnering with schools to offer vaccines in house. Students would be sent home with information packets for parents to read as well as a parental consent form (no minor would be vaccinated without parental consent). For working parents, taking off time to bring their child to be vaccinated could potentially make it harder to get their child vaccinated. Offering vaccines in schools provides an easy way for children to be protected from COVID and makes our schools safer.

  3. Extend the travel mask mandate. While controversial, masks have been shown to provide protection for yourself and others against COVID when in crowded areas. Public transportation and air travel are tight spaces with people breathing the same air. With the mask mandate set to expire in September, I would propose extending it through the end of the year and then evaluating it again. As we better understand the Delta (and future COVID) variants, and more people are vaccinated I believe the CDC, and the scientific community, will have more data to help ensure lives are protected as our citizens travel.

  4. Vaccine authentication. I strongly support a centralized vaccine authentication method that citizens voluntarily participate in. We are seeing some instances of fake vaccine cards and travelers forging vaccine proof for travel. While these cases are not currently common, a centralized vaccine authentication method would provide an easy way to verify vaccination. While participation would be voluntary, this would allow those who wish to participate in an easy method to prove vaccination for travel abroad or entrance into private events or business that may require vaccination.

 

As we continue, as a nation, to face the brutal effects of COVID, I support the following to provide support for people who have faced loss of jobs, and other life challenges, due to COVID:

  1. Evaluating another federal student loan deferment. Currently, federal loans are set to begin to collect interest beginning January 31, 2022. With the spread of the Delta variant I believe that we may continue to see employment struggles for many into next year. I believe that looking at another extension will continue to allow those most financially affected by COVID to focus on their most important financial needs. 

  2. Eviction moratorium or rental assistance. With the financial struggles of many that are directly due to COVID, it is important to protect housing as something that families in Kentucky, and the nation, should not worry about losing during this time. With the current federal eviction moratorium ending October 3, 2021, I would support either extending this moratorium through at least the end of the year, or providing rent assistance which would allow landlords to be paid but also ensure that renters are not evicted. Currently, rental help is available in Kentucky, and I would support ensuring this is available through the end of the year with the potential to extend it into next year depending on the course of the virus. 

 

COVID Kentucky Resources: