The state of Kentucky saw the largest one-day rise in the number of coronavirus cases just after a series of protests held calling on state leaders to lift lockdown measures.
As the New York Post reported, protesters hit the streets in Kentucky last week as part of a small but growing movement to call on leaders across the country to lift the tight restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As the report noted, Kentucky saw a rise of 273 new cases on Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 2,960, just after the protests took place.
While there was no evidence that the rise in coronavirus cases was in any way connected to the protest, public health experts have said that holding group events is dangerous given the highly contagious nature of the novel coronavirus. It also appears unlikely that the protests will convince state leaders to move quickly on removing restrictions. As Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said this week, the state will not start making any plans to lift its lockdown measures until the spread of the virus has been brought under control.
"We are still in the midst of this fight against a deadly and highly contagious virus," Beshear said, via WCPO.
"Let's make sure, as much as we're looking at those benchmarks and we're looking at the future, that we are acting in the present and we are doing the things that it takes to protect one another."The state has been strict in enforcing its restrictions, with police even recording license plates of people who attended Easter church services and later ordering them to quarantine.Close to 100 protesters gathered last week at the Kentucky State Capitol building in Frankfort, demonstrating during a briefing that Beshear was holding on the state's efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Another protest was organized for Friday, but state officials set up blockades to prevent them from reaching the Capitol. Protesters instead circled the area in cars as what the New York Post described as a "drive-through protest."
While many people have expressed frustration with the continued restrictions and the closure of non-essential businesses, reports have noted that not all of the protests are emerging organically. NBC News reported that a family of conservative political activists are behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to protesting lockdown measures. The movements have also been encouraged by President Donald Trump, who last week wrote a series of tweets that encouraged people to "liberate" a series of states with Democratic governors.