The Kentucky State Police Honor Guard placed a wreath outside the State Capitol building Monday to honor the more 2,000 Kentuckians who have died from COVID-19.
Kentucky is in the midst of a third, and by far the most deadly, wave of coronavirus infection since the outbreak of the pandemic. The state has averaged 25 COVID-deaths per day over the last week.
Since the first confirmed case on March 6th, Kentucky recorded 2,072 COVID-19 deaths as of Monday afternoon ahead of the state’s daily briefing.
The ceremony included a prayer from Reverend Jack Brewer, a speech from Gov. Andy Beshear and a performance from a hand bell ensemble from the First United Methodist Church in Frankfort.
“Today we honor those we’ve lost, and we recommit to protecting our fellow human beings in what will be the final months of this battle,” Beshear said.
Chris Perry of Carter County spoke about the loss of his brother Rob, who died of COVID-19 at age 56.
Perry’s words were a reflection on his brother’s life as much as a warning to others. Perry said his brother was a devoted Cincinnati Reds fan and a devout Christian.
Rob also had several health conditions that made him more vulnerable, and did not believe the virus would affect him until it was too late, Perry said.
“It’s not some made up virus. It’s not some political ploy. It is real and it took our brother,” Perry said.
State health officials say a first round of vaccines is estimated to be nearly a week away and will be delivered to those at highest-risk including those in long-term care as well as healthcare professionals. A wider distribution of vaccines is expected through the spring and summer.
In the meantime, health experts including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield warn the next few months could be the most challenging in the “public-health history of our nation.”