Good to see you and hear from you again.
In the month since we last met, the vast majority of Kentucky and Kentuckians have settled into a routine of social distancing, of working and studying from home, of graduating from elbow bumps to wearing masks in public, and continuing to wash our hands copiously for two rounds of “Happy Birthday” each time.
Yes, this is life, and trying to stay safe, COVID-19 Pandemic edition, month two.
So how are we doing? How are we feeling?
After asking Power Pollers questions about this “new normal” in the initial days of the pandemic, we wanted to come back a month later with a couple of new questions. But we also wanted to re-ask a few of the former ones to gauge any change in your reactions to this new world we are in, a world of sheltering in place, of flattening the curve, of green lights for the dead, and sidewalk chalk art for the living. And a world of this ...
On the afternoon of April 23, 2020, covidusa.net reports these tested-and-confirmed statistics for Kentucky:
— 3,378 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Bluegrass State
— 185 deaths of people from COVID-19
— 1,122 recovered, with 2,071 people in recovery from the virus
A variety of important information about Kentucky’s profile, and resources for help, in this national fight also can be found on kycovid19.ky.gov
As Gov. Andy Beshear reminds Kentucky every day in his late afternoon/early evening press briefings, each one of those numbers is a person, and they leave an absence, a hole, in the lives of their survivors, who cannot be with them as they recover or as they die. No wonder his mantras of “we’re gonna get through this” and “we will get through this together” have taken hold and taken off. The support of his leadership in poll responses also would seem to provide the springboard for his growing national profile in the ranks of governors and how they are responding to the crisis.
Slightly more than 28 percent of you took part in this month’s Power Poll. Some brief headlines on the results before we look at each of them:
— Most of you still think the national, federal, response to the pandemic is terrible.
— Most of you still think the state and local response is great or better than you had expected.
— Very, very few of you think there has been an overreaction on the part of officials.
— Virtually unchanged since last month, the vast majority of you say you are very concerned or somewhat concerned about being exposed to or contracting COVID-19.
The responses would seem to undercut support of protests in recent days by relatively small numbers of people throughout the country, including Kentucky, who want to see sheltering guidelines relaxed, businesses re-opened and a resumption of the old ways sooner rather than later. And the answers to two other questions completely undercut the message of the protesters.
Additionally, a handful of churches pushed back against virtual gathering by holding or threatening to hold in-person services that defied mass-gathering guidelines offered by the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Power Pollers have a clear view on that, too.
About when you think we should return to work and life as normal, even as some governors and national leaders urge for that to happen right away, well, almost half of you say that depends on testing, and that’s just now getting ramped up in Kentucky.
And whether public health trumps the economy? A slam dunk.
So, on to all of the questions and answers:
How concerned are you about being exposed to or contracting COVID-19?
— 46 percent said “very concerned” (the same as last month)
— 44 percent said “somewhat concerned” (up a bit from last month)
— 6 percent said “not too concerned” (slightly down from March)
— 4 percent said “not at all concerned” ( slightly up from March)
How would you describe the national, federal handling of COVID-19?
— Only 1.4 percent said “great” (slightly down from March)
— 19 percent said “better than I expected” (down slightly from last month)
— 57 percent said “terrible” (up 5 points from March)
— Only 4 percent called it an “overreaction” (up a bit from last month)
— 19 percent said it was an “under-reaction” (about the same as last month)
How would you describe the state and local handling of COVID-19?
— 51 percent said “great” (up 9 points from last month)
— 44 percent said “better than I expected” (down from last month)
— Only one person, or 1.43 percent, said “terrible” (down 5 points from last month)
— 3 percent described it as an “overreaction) (no one did last month)
As to whether you approved of the way church gatherings have been handled in Kentucky during the COVID-19 outbreak:
— 76 percent said yes
— 16 percent said no
— 9 percent said you weren’t certain
When do you think Americans should start returning to work and life as normal?
— 7 percent said in one to two weeks from now
— 11 percent said in three to four weeks
— 30 percent said in more than a month from now
— 4 percent said more than six months from now
— 47 percent said it depends on testing
And which, in your view, is more important: Public health or the economy?
— 84 percent said public health
— 16 percent said the economy
We will meet again next month. Until then, thanks to our first and front-line responders, our essential workers, the people who can’t stay home and for whom we are wishing as we do for all of us: to stay well, stay safe, stay healthy. We all matter to someone.