In the face of Republican opposition, House Democrats have backed off plans to consider unprecedented rule changes to allow members to vote and hold hearings remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ryan Van Velzer

The first Earth Day was 50 years ago today, April 22, 1970. Marking the anniversary and celebrating the planet present unique challenges for people around the globe while social distancing in the middle of a pandemic. But some young activists in Kentucky believe they’ve found a way, through technology.

Organizers at Kentucky Youth Climate Strike are calling on their peers to join in a week of digital action to combat Climate Change and the coronavirus.

“I think both crises that we’re seeing, of COVID-19 and the climate crisis, create a unique opportunity for a regained sense of shared humanity, where people realize what matters most,” said Kentucky Youth Climate Strike State Director Fernanda Scharfenberger.

Updated Friday, 6:45 p.m. ET

This past Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Instead of feeling gratitude and oneness with the planet you may have experienced darker emotions as we weather the pandemic: a fear that more disruptive events are on the horizon due to climate change.

For some, feelings of sadness about the state of the planet aren't new — they're constant and at times debilitating. This experience goes by many names, among them eco-anxiety, climate grief and climate despair.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 17 new deaths due to coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 171. There are 3,192 people who have tested positive for the virus, with 177 new cases.

Beshear said 13 of the new deaths were nursing home residents and that 42 percent of the state’s coronavirus deaths have been associated with nursing homes.

Kentucky’s situation would be worse if people weren’t working to stop the spread of the disease, Beshear said.

Updated 11:35 a.m. ET

When it comes to testing for COVID-19, there are two competing narratives. The Trump administration claims the U.S. has been doing well and has enough testing capacity, for states to begin to enter the first phase of the White House plan for reopening.

But many public health officials, hospital administrators and state leaders disagree.

Earlier this week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a CNN interview that a lack of testing is a problem and "has been since the beginning of the crisis."

Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced today that the majority of businesses across Tennessee will be allowed to reopen on May 1.

The announcement comes after positive signs of Tennesseans flattening the curve and amid pressure to reopen the economy. Demonstrators rallied outside the Tennessee State Capitol over the weekend, but it also comes as other Republican-led states are planning to ease stay-at-home restrictions, including Ohio, North Dakota and Indiana.

Lee’s announcement does not include Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan counties, each of which has its own health department. Lee says the state will be working with them to set their own schedules.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to add roughly $484 billion in new funds to bolster the already record-breaking coronavirus response legislation.

The Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent on Tuesday. House leaders were planning a vote for Thursday.


With concerns mounting about how to conduct elections during a pandemic, states across the Ohio Valley are postponing their primary election dates and, in some cases, expanding access to voting by mail in order to allow people to cast ballots safely. But the implementation of last-minute changes is straining politics and the capacity of local elections officials region-wide. 

Ohio postponed its election from March 17 to April 28, giving its election officials the smallest window in which to adjust their plans. West Virginia delayed until June 9, and Kentucky, which had planned to hold its primary May 19, moved its primary five weeks later to June 23. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky has surpassed 3,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and says the state is still likely in the “plateau” of the pandemic.

Beshear announced 102 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 3,050. He also reported 6 new deaths, for a total of 154.

The number is far lower than Sunday’s record high 273 cases, but Beshear said today’s number is likely higher due to some labs that process results being closed over the weekend.

Federal health officials estimated in early April that more than 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if all social distancing measures are abandoned, and later estimates pushed the possible death toll even higher, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Some outside experts say even that grim outlook may be too optimistic.

The documents, created by the Department of Health and Human Services, spell out the data and analysis the agency is sharing with other federal agencies to help shape their responses to the coronavirus.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital

Hospitals across Kentucky are experiencing a dramatic decline in revenues as elective procedures are cancelled in order to focus on treating COVID-19 patients.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital is one of the health care organizations temporarily trimming its staff to deal with the financial challenge.

The hospital in Somerset is putting 17 percent of its staff on temporary leave, with 25 percent salary and continuing benefits for those employees.

Stephanie Wolf

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded nearly $30 million to state, regional and territorial arts agencies across the country from CARES Act funds. 

The grants include $454,100 to the Kentucky Arts Council and $473,900 to the Indiana Arts Commission, according to the NEA. Additionally, the regional organization South Arts, with Kentucky a member, will receive $784,200 and Arts Midwest, which includes Indiana, will receive $757,100.

J. Tyler Franklin

During his Sunday briefing, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said that the state has experienced the highest one day increase in new coronavirus cases, “that we’ve ever had.”

He reported 273 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 2,960.

The governor also announced four new deaths, which put Kentucky’s total death toll at 148.

“And while that’s significantly less than what we’ve had in other days, again four individuals, four families that are, oh so important,” Beshear said, encouraging people to light up their homes and buildings green to honor those who have died.

Ft. Knox

As government leaders assess when to reopen the economy amid coronavirus concerns, senior miliary commanders are considering the long-term effects of the pandemic.

The Fort Knox U.S. Army base in Kentucky was among the first in the nation to close its schools because of the virus, and continues to use measures like virtual training to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Opioid addiction isn't taking a break during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the U.S. response to the viral crisis is making addiction treatment easier to get.