GOV. ANDY BESHEAR WDRB INTERVIEW

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- WDRB sat down with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to honor healthcare workers during Healthcare Heroes Appreciation Week, and to discuss the latest on COVID-19.

Candyce Clifft:

Good morning, Governor. Good to see you.

Sterling Riggs:

You declared this week, Healthcare Heroes Week for healthcare workers in Kentucky. What kinds of things are you encouraging people in businesses to do, to show gratitude for healthcare workers?

Gov. Beshear:

We're hoping that it will be organic, that people will do everything from as small as calling that nurse or doctor or EMT or local health department worker and saying how much they love and appreciate them, to businesses doing different deals and, or providing food to whole communities, lifting them up. I mean, these workers are tired. They've been at this for 18 months. Admittedly, they're frustrated right now because we're dealing with, what's going to be a really tough time that was avoidable. And we want to make sure that they're showing up each and every day at a time when our hospitals are bursting at the seams. At least one in Kentucky [is] already in disaster mode and the need to have each and every one of these folks bring in their very best every day. So the least we can do is to try to pick them up, to tell them how much we care about them. And that can go a long way.

Candyce Clifft:

Governor, the state Supreme court sided with the General Assembly ib limiting your powers in an emergency situation, how is that going to change the way you manage the pandemic?

Gov. Beshear:

Well, for the last 18 months, you know, I've run this ball and I've been willing to make, as people have seen, the tough and the unpopular decisions, if they were necessary. Now, a lot of those decisions are going to have to be made by the general assembly. And it may be harder for a group of over a hundred folks to make the tough decision when it's necessary, but I'm still going to be doing everything I can each and every day. Right now we're, we're forming national guard teams to help our hospitals. We're seeking FEMA help and we're looking at everything else we can do to try to create beds. And in places like Pikeville Medical Center, where they've set up triaged tents outside. St. Claire, where they are entirely out of beds and turning ORs into COVID wings or Ephraim McDowell in Danville that it had to call in a refrigerator truck because it's morgue was overwhelmed. So, so there are things that I can do on an everyday basis. But, but listen, it's getting really bad. And so if we need to go back to masking, for instance on a wider basis, that's going to have to be the General Assembly.

Sterling Riggs:

All right, governor let's talk about how Kentucky can continue to fight the pandemic while getting people back to work and keeping children in school.

Gov. Beshear:

So the way we do that are two tools. Even against this Delta variant, which is the scariest thing we've ever seen, it gets people sicker. It spreads faster and it's deadlier. It hits younger people which should mean everybody's concerned. Even with all that, we have the two tools that we need. Number one, vaccinations. Listen, it's time. We've got full FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine. It's time for everybody to get vaccinated. Those that are unvaccinated have never been at more risk. So I'm asking people out there--  have that uncomfortable conversation, right? The Thanksgiving dinner rule, and call someone, you know, that you love and that you care about that is unvaccinated and talk to them. Listen, you know, you're going to be putting your friendship potentially at issue but their life will probably never be in more danger than it is right now against this variant.

So we got to see more people get vaccinated. The second is masking. Folks, we know it works. There was a study done where an unvaccinated classroom of kids, they modeled it out, and 90% are going to get either infected or quarantined in a single semester. Meanwhile, their modeling shows that masks cut transmission by 80%. So if we want to keep our kids in school, if we want to keep our workforce healthy and showing up for work and we want to protect and save lives when we're outside our home, but inside, we need to be wearing a mask right now. Listen, that's not going to be a long-term thing. This Delta variant we can get past, but while the most contagious version of COVID is out there while people who are vaccinated can still spread it, we just need to do our part. We've been here before, we can do it again. And we know it works.

Candyce Clifft:

What's the biggest obstacle right now to getting people vaccinated.

Gov. Beshear:

Misinformation you know, we've got really two groups left out there that, that are unvaccinated one is politically against it. And the other has been sold myths. And there's really three, but it hasn't been studied enough. Full FDA approval is the gold standard. That's the same thing that polio and smallpox and everything else went through. And we mandate those vaccines. Second, is that it makes you sterile. It does not. Half the country has gotten it, we'd know that by now. And the third is that it can impact pregnancy, where now what the CDC is saying is if you don't get vaccinated and you're pregnant, you are at risk. So if we can dispel some of those, there are a number of other people out there that'll get vaccinated.

Sterling Riggs:

Governor Beshear. We thank you so much for your time this morning for coming on the show.

Gov. Beshear:

Thank you all.

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