Democratic Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky issued new coronavirus recommendations Monday pushing for more mask-wearing amid a rise in Kentucky cases, even among the fully-vaccinated, driven by the Delta variant.
During a press conference on Monday, Beshear said after months of dropping case rates, Kentucky is now seeing a rise in positive coronavirus cases, likely driven by the more contagious Delta variant. There has also been an increase in hospitalizations.
“The Delta variant is serious and it is even a deadly threat to non-vaccinated Kentuckians,” Beshear said. “Vaccines are still offering significant protection against serious illness and death, including against the Delta variant. But we are seeing more cases among vaccinated Kentuckians because of the Delta variant.”
Beshear issued new masking recommendations, asking all unvaccinated people to wear masks anytime they are indoors and not in their homes. He also said people who have pre-existing conditions should wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. But he didn’t stop there.
“Vaccinated Kentuckians with jobs where you are exposed to a ton of people each day, if you work in hospitality, if you work in a restaurant, if you work in retail, and there are many more. I’m not picking on any industry. Just where the individuals come in contact with a lot of people, we are recommending at this point that you wear a mask,” Beshear said.
Roughly 2.4 million Kentuckians have been vaccinated, making the state vaccination rate about 61 percent.
Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said if you choose not to get vaccinated, you are putting yourself and many others at risk.
Particularly in areas where the Delta variant has taken hold, due to unvaccinated populations, the larger United States has seen large clusters of positive COVID-19 cases even in those people who have been fully vaccinated.
Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida, said Monday he had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus even though he had been vaccinated against the disease.
Five Democratic state House representatives from Texas tested positive for the coronavirus over the past few days even though they had all been fully vaccinated, as well. They tested positive after they traveled to Washington D.C. in an attempt to prevent a quorum that was needed to move on a controversial voting rights bill in their state. The House Democratic Caucus said they were all showing no symptoms or minor symptoms.
No vaccine is 100 percent effective, even though the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines tested at about 95 percent and 94 percent effective, respectively. Even though breakthrough infection of coronavirus is possible in fully vaccinated individuals, it usually occurs in people with otherwise compromised immune systems. The vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness and death.
Newsweek reached out to Gov. Beshear’s office for comment but did not hear back before publication time.