We need to safely stay open

Op-EdAppeared in Louisville Courier-Journal on July 9, 2020By Dr. Molly Rutherford

As a doctor, I am more than aware of the increase in cases Kentucky is facing. But that doesn’t warrant another lockdown. In Kentucky, the largest increase in cases is in those under the age of 40. The only coronavirus patient I’ve had fell into this demographic. She’s in her early 30s and asymptomatic except for a sore throat. This is what a brunt of the cases in young people look like. Despite what you may see on social media, COVID-19 isn’t a death sentence for most.

Kentucky’s reopening is progress that we can’t afford to lose — literally. Kentucky had the worst unemployment increase in the country as 1 in 3 Kentuckians found themselves out of work. The state is still working through its backlog of unemployment relief requests.

Outside of economic concerns, there are other risks posed by the state returning to a lockdown. At 23.5 cases per every 1,000 children, Kentucky has the highest rate of child abuse in the nation. School is essential to those children as it allows them access to safety, nutrition and a proper learning environment.

The best way to fight this virus is by frequently washing your hands and practicing socially distancing —not locking down the state again. If Kentucky is to thrive, not just survive, during COVID-19, we must remain open.

Molly Rutherford MD, MPH