I wish to be comfortable that the Kentucky Derby shall be run with followers in attendance this 12 months. I actually do.

And I hate the truth that it at all times falls on me to be the realist. The one who says, “Whoa. Maintain on a minute there, pardner.”

However somebody has to do it. So, right here goes. 

Are we transferring just a little too quick right here?

Within the two weeks after the Derby is run on Sept. 5, are you and I going to be required to quarantine for 2 weeks if we go to New York as a result of we’re the most recent scorching spot in the USA, the place the coronavirus is working rampant and our want for intensive care beds is outstripping our capability to offer them?

Are we going to be seeing ourselves on the nationwide information with some somber-looking speaking head intoning, “And in Louisville, Kentucky, they’re seeing a large spike in coronavirus circumstances that’s taxing their well being care system and has medical well being professionals calling for one more shutdown of the financial system in an effort to get the illness below management”?  

Hundreds of followers, no masks required

Have a look at what’s going on across the nation proper now as cities and states have struggled to reopen their companies with out placing individuals in danger. 

Texas and Florida every reported greater than 5,000 new circumstances on Wednesday, and California reported greater than 7,000 new circumstances. In Houston, 97% of intensive care rooms are full. Wednesday noticed greater than 35,000 new circumstances within the U.S. 

In Arizona, on Tuesday, the state reported a document variety of new circumstances and deaths because the virus stretched the state’s capability to take care of these contaminated with it. The state reported that 84% of its intensive care beds have been in use and 83% of its in-patient hospital beds full. 

The Derby announcement comes because the White Home has mentioned that it’s ending funding for 13 drive-up coronavirus testing websites across the nation regardless of the spike in constructive circumstances. In the meantime, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has paused that state’s reopening and has shut down some elective surgical procedures once more in an effort to make extra hospital house accessible for the COVID-19 surge.

It additionally comes as Kentucky is seeing a mini-surge in circumstances amongst individuals coming back from trip in Myrtle Seashore, South Carolina, and Gov. Andy Beshear has warned individuals about going there. 

Unhealthy habits: If Americans keep ignoring COVID-19 safety precautions, we’ll have to shut down. Again.

Now, we’re speaking about in nearly two months days inviting maybe hundreds of out-of-town friends — a few of them coming from coronavirus scorching spots — to Kentucky, the place we advocate they put on masks however do not require it. 

We have been informed that Churchill Downs will restrict the variety of followers, staff and media on the Derby and permit normal admission ticket holders solely within the wide-open infield and never within the tightly packed paddock space. 

Finest-laid plans aren’t working

That is all good. Seeing what we have seen throughout the nation as states have reopened and folks have begun to let their masks and their guard down, it does not sound promising. 

We’re but to see an in depth Derby plan, however it seems individuals shall be allowed to sit down of their bins and their seats with out masks. However they clearly will not be social distancing from the people who find themselves strolling the aisle straight in entrance of them. 

And Lord solely is aware of how far unmasked box-dwellers shall be spewing their coronavirus-laced droplets as they stand and cheer as one in every of their exacta field combos comes roaring down the homestretch.

Do not do what we did: Wisconsin’s economy is reopening and it’s a hot coronavirus mess

Churchill officers have not mentioned how or if they may implement their guidelines encouraging masks. They have not mentioned what number of followers they may permit within the racetrack and whether or not that quantity will permit for true social distancing or simply some theoretical model of it that can put individuals in danger. 

It is no enjoyable being the pessimist — particularly in pessimistic occasions — however the states which have moved sooner on reopening their economies than Kentucky aren’t trying like they’re led by the neatest bulbs because the variety of circumstances mounts and the deaths rise. 

Beshear has withstood the slings and arrows from the proper as far as he has moved slower than many states in reopening the financial system. In doing so, he has stored the variety of deaths right here on the low aspect — we’re ranked 33rd in deaths per 1 million residents.

You are greater than thrice as prone to die of the coronavirus in Indiana as you might be in Kentucky. In Ohio, you are almost twice as prone to die than your are right here. 

That is not an accident. 

Let’s hope bringing in hundreds of tourists and cramming them into our inns and eating places and Churchill Downs does not carry us consistent with our neighbors to the north. 

However proper now, I would not wager on it. 

Joseph Gerth is a columnist on the Louisville Courier-Journal, the place this piece first appeared. Comply with him on Twitter: @Joe_Gerth


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