By Sarah Levitch
Video Provided by Kentucky to the World
As the world remains in a state of flux, adapting to the everyday situations and questions presented by COVID-19, Kentucky stands tall as a model for excellence and greatness. Faced with challenges unlike ever before, the people of Kentucky have not only broken stereotypes but also proven to the nation that we take care of our communities, no matter what. Giving a platform and opportunity to further display these acts of compassion, Kentucky to the World wants to hear your story. As a non-profit organization, Kentucky to the World creates multi-media productions that find and elevate stories of excellence. Whether from individuals, organizations or communities, these stories work together to construct a new narrative for Kentucky on the world stage that isn’t beholden to old stereotypes. We spoke with Taylor Cochran, creative consultant, and Melissa Zoeller, public relations and marketing consultant, about Kentucky to the World’s mission and their upcoming video series.
How have the operations of Kentucky to the World shifted in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Taylor: Luckily before all of this happened, we planned to take a step back as an organization and work on brand awareness. When the organization started, it was primarily a conversation and lecture series, and late last year we pivoted to be a more holistic storytelling organization. In modern times, a huge piece of that would’ve been our digital presence, so we began migrating our website from a brochure of the organization to long-form blogs written by our staff writer Michael Phillips. All of them have an illustrated component by our staff illustrator, archivist and researcher August Northcut. A lot of them also have video or photo components produced by Tommy Johns. Instead of chasing headlines, our organization is chasing archives. The biggest difference during COVID-19 has been rethinking how we continue with the brand equity we have while trying to do something innovative and relevant. How do we add something productive rather than being a handout?
Melissa: Our focus stays around the fact that these are unique stories no one else is telling about individuals that have strong Kentucky ties. Whether it be that they grew up here, work here or discovered something here. Our main goal is to keep it centered around the fact that most people don’t realize how many things come out of Kentucky.
Tell me about the video series you’re working on.
Taylor: Our Education & Strategy Consultant, David Thurmond, came up with this idea with his niece. They were thinking about how this quarantine experience has affected so many different people in so many different ways, and during all of it, Kentucky has made national headlines for really, really good reasons for one of the first times in a long time. As well, Cuomo gave this speech that really spoke to Thurmond about reimagining the future. So, we spent a couple of weeks watching the community to see how everyone was responding to figure out what questions we could ask people. What we came up with was, let’s give people the most non-specific prompt we can. Let’s be the archivist here. Give us your stories. What has been exceptional to you? Has it been your neighbor doing this? Is it something that you did? What are you seeing coming out of Kentucky that you would like to tell the world about?
How will you be collecting and sharing the videos?
Taylor: All social media except for twitter. We’re @kentuckytotheworld on Instagram and Facebook, so tag our profile and use #kentuckytotheworld and #teamkentucky.
Melissa: Governor Andy Beshear has been sharing the #teamkentucky posts in his daily updates. What we want is for people to make a small video of how they’ve been affected by all this or what unique things they’ve seen. We’re going to compile all those together as a video series and montage. Some of our community partners are the Muhammad Ali Center, Frazier History Museum, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville Metro Parks Community Centers and Omni Louisville Hotel. We want to send this video montage out to them as well as the Governor’s office to share all these amazing things that people have done during the coronavirus pandemic.
Taylor: There will be a companion blog about this project too. KTW’s Video Producer & Director, Tommy Johns, is curating a YouTube playlist for these videos. These videos are sort of flipping the script from looking at the greatness someone achieved to recognizing that greatness is already in Kentucky by listening to these stories. Kentuckians standing by each other is literally our state motto. We are in it for the commonwealth.
How do you envision the final product?
Taylor: I don’t know if we’re putting a time limit on this, as much as there will be a natural time limit. At some point, submissions will become more relevant, or something will happen to add another storyline. We don’t really know what’s going to happen. We might release a few different montage videos rather than one big thing.
Melissa: It’s very organic and open. What we said from the beginning was we’ll review every two weeks to see where we stand, just like we’re reviewing every two weeks in life. We’re in such a state of flux that we want to keep it going as long as individuals are doing these amazing things.
Photography: Andrea Hutchinson
Styling: Liz Bingham
Styling Assistants: Sarah Levitch and Shirelle Williams
Makeup: Jace Face
Flowers: In Bloom Again and Nanz & Kraft Florists
Model: Shantay Chandler
Lillian Lucille Henken Press, 95, born October 18, 1924 in Everett, Massachusetts, loving and beloved mother and grandmother, passed away Sunday, April 26, 2020 at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Washington.
She is survived by her son, Lowell Press, daughter-in-law Sasha Press and grandchildren Logan Press and Hayden Press, all of Bellevue; and by her sister, Mildred Henken of Lexington, and her nieces, Karen Henken of San Diego and Donna Henken of New York.
Her energetic, vivacious, caring spirit will always be with us, and her service to the community as a pioneer in education and mental health will live on in the hearts of those whose lives she touched.
Founding Director of the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program, Lillian moved with her husband, the late O. Leonard Press, to Lexington in 1952. Among her accomplishments she was the Founding President of the National Conference of Governor’s Schools, Program Director at WVLK, Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of Mental Health, Dale Farabee, Special Assistant to the Appalachian Regional Commission Co-Chair, Al Smith, Founding Chair of the Women’s Network and a trustee on the Centre College Board for 26 years. She received an honorary degree from Centre College and an honorary doctorate from the University of Kentucky. On the latter occasion, UK President, Dr. Eli Capilouto, said of her and her husband, “You bestowed upon the Commonwealth an abundance of goodness and talent that still lifts us all.”
She leaves behind so many dear friends who meant the world to her. May she rest in peace at Lexington Cemetery with her husband, Len, and nearby their longtime friends, Connie and Dave Wilson.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Centre College in memory of Lil Press.
Words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of pride and joy sending the June issue, my first issue as Editor in Chief, to press has brought me. Not only is June my birthday month, and for those of you who know me know that I love birthdays, but more importantly, this issue is filled with hope.
For the first time since COVID-19 changed all of our lives as we knew them, I feel a sense of hope for the future that’s being shown through all facets of our community and beyond that I hope you too will feel through the pages of our June issue. Josh Miller’s story about practicing social distancing while attempting to maintain his usual running routine is truly encouraging to know that people are still upholding their old routines and respecting new guidelines. Jeff Howard’s monthly column also sheds light on new ways we can exercise together under the “new normal” standards. The story I had the privilege to write, about the Community Foundation’s One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund, brought immense inspiration and gratitude for how our community has come together to help those in need and kept a positive outlook on what’s to come. I also had the opportunity to interview nine local artists who all pivoted their craft to making masks for local businesses, individuals and nationwide. Thanks to our two wonderful summer interns, Sarah Levitch and Shirelle Williams, we also have a story about how to imbibe responsibly during this new era of video socializing and one about the experience of surviving during the pandemic for five local businesses and individuals across an array of categories. You’ll even see this glimmer of hope in the facial expressions of our solo bride in our fashion editorial.
I don’t want to give too much away, but what I hope this issue will provide for you, our loyal Voice readers, is a sense that everything is going to be okay. Everything might and probably will feel odd for quite a while, but if we all continue to work together and follow the guidelines instructed to us, we will get through this together.
Editor in Chief
“Art is not always about pretty things. It’s about who we are, what happened to us and how our lives are affected.”
— Smithsonian American Art Museum Director, Elizabeth Broun
As we continue to move through the aftershock of the pandemic, there has been a coming together that resonates within our sense of hope that together we will get through this. Meaning, we have a new appreciation for our co-workers, neighbors — some we have never met or stopped to say hello to until now because of current day events — and family. Yes, there are leaders who guide us, however, the ultimate result is equated to the strength of teamwork. I am proud and honored to work with our team that produces a publication of value and integrity month after month, interlocking ideas and discussing content that will engage you and somehow make a difference in our community and therefore our lives.
Meet our new Editor in Chief, Liz Bingham. She has the grace and style of an elegant gazelle moving through treacherous terrain with ease. Being introduced as our Editor in Chief during a pandemic? As she said, “Why not?” Talk about courage. No stranger to the publishing business, Liz has been an integral part of the team for a number of years. Keep an eye on the magic happening within the pages of each issue and you will begin to notice the talent she possesses.
Behind the scenes our Art Director, Britany Baker, maintains a cohesive approach with each project that she manages. She reminds me of that person you see that can balance on one foot on a chair perched on one leg and all the while about 20 plates are spinning on batons above her. Of course, each spinning plate represents the many facets of her creative brain that has the ability to bring it all together as we approach that constant deadline to approve one fabulous issue after another. At Art Sanctuary, she also manages the art studios of over 30 artists. Their mission is to support artists by providing a platform to make and showcase art. If you would like to learn more, visit their website at art-sanctuary.org.
Our publication is stronger than ever thanks to the incredible talent of our staff photographers, Andrea Hutchinson and Kathryn Harrington. I’ve been on many photo shoots with both of them and always walk away from each shoot with great pride. Time after time, the imagery they create speaks volumes about their incredible talent and ability to capture exactly what is needed for each project. Take a look at the black and white photographs of Churchill Downs on what should’ve been Derby Day. An eerie silence is felt through the lens and what Andrea was able to show us that creates many emotions all at once. Our homes feature, photographed by Kathryn, is a beautiful composition of images that reveals a bucolic landscape focusing on outdoor living.
Art is about what has happened to us and how it has affected our lives. We have all been affected by the pandemic and the art emerging as a result is beautiful. Let us hear from you, and as a reminder, it is your voice that matters!
Janice Carter Levitch,
How the Community Foundation of Louisville is providing COVID-19 funding relief
By Liz Bingham
Photos provided by the Community Foundation of Louisville
On March 16, in partnership with Louisville Metro Government and several other community partners, the Community Foundation of Louisville opened the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund and started receiving funds and building a process for how to get money flowing out. To learn more about how and why this fund was developed, who it has helped and how the Community Foundation thinks this pandemic has affected our community as a whole, we spoke with Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of the Community Foundation of Louisville Trisha Finnegan.
Why was the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund started?
“The fund was started for one purpose: to support our community, particularly our neighbors who need support and those who are most vulnerable right now.”
How are the funds being raised?
“The money for the fund is raised from various sources. It ranges from a $10 contribution by someone who hears about it and goes onto the Community Foundation’s website to a $1 million gift from a corporation, family or individual.
We have also had people start their own fundraisers, whether that’s through Facebook or other campaigns. These have included the Louisville Bats, who hosted the concert Live at Home(Plate) on April 24 to encourage donations to the fund. The concert was live on Facebook and featured singer-songwriter Kentucky Harp. The Bats are also helping raise money by selling a special t-shirt in a partnership with two other baseball teams in Lexington and Bowling Green. A portion of each shirt sold through the Louisville Bats website will benefit the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund.
Louisville City FC and their apparel partner Dyehard Fan Supply have also been supporters of the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund. They sold t-shirts with $10 per shirt being donated to the fund. The shirts were so popular, that Kroger ended up ordering them to sell in their stores, continuing the $10 per shirt donation. Additionally, LouCity players have held their own fundraising initiatives and challenges on social media to encourage more donations.”
How is the support provided?
“The support is focused in two primary areas. One is direct support to households that can apply for funding up to $1,000. The process is currently full and was managed by Louisville Metro Government. The second part is to support nonprofits to support people all across our community. We are focused on those who need support most, such as vulnerable populations and people who need immediate service as well as longer term help. This includes food, utilities, health and all kinds of support for people.”
What is the process of determining who receives the support?
“There is an open application that any nonprofit can apply to. There is a volunteer committee of qualified and experienced grant reviewers who meet and review each application for the populations that they’re serving, the need for that population and then they make recommendations and assess the funding that they have available and then provide that out into the community. We’ve helped more than 120 nonprofits in the Greater Louisville area so far.
As of May 7, we’ve raised $10.1 million in pledges, and of that, we’ve received $8.3 million. We expect the remaining amount to come in the next few weeks. So far, we have distributed $7.75 million, which is the amount of money we’ve given out through nonprofits and the amount of money we’ve allocated for Louisville Metro Government to distribute to individual households.”
How do you choose which nonprofits will benefit from the fund?
“We put the word out across all kinds of channels to say, ‘Come one, come all, please apply.’ And we’ll help as many as we can. We invited smaller organizations, larger organizations, those working in the West or the East, all across the community.
There is a panel of professionals who have reviewed the more than 300 applications they have received thus far and also consider the reviews of the committee that is made up of people from corporate philanthropy, foundations, the city of Louisville and individual philanthropy. All of us work together to make a decision to say, ‘This is the need.’
Other organizations that have been helpful in determining the recipients have been Metro United Way, Fund for the Arts and the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. We’ve pulled information and data and feedback from a lot of different places and pulled that into one committee so we can try to make the best decisions based on where the need is, what’s being funded and where we know help is still needed.”
Is there a certain category of nonprofit that you’ve noticed has needed more help than others?
“I think it’s spread pretty evenly. We have tried to focus on stability for people right now, so we’ve tried to focus on food, access to programs in remote form for students and all kinds of things that help support families right now — rental support, utility support, medication and telehealth support, mental health support. We have tried to focus the grant making on that, but we are getting applications from all across the community.
We look at nonprofits by size, by geography. I can say we have some very new nonprofits that we funded and then we have some nonprofits that have been around for 100 years that we’ve funded. I think it’s been a really broad spectrum and we’ve tried to be really intentional about funding small and large, new and existing and to be really thoughtful about spreading the love.”
Are there certain areas or neighborhoods that have been the most in need?
“People who were vulnerable before are even more vulnerable now. While a lot of what we see is geography in Louisville, what we’ve seen with this crisis is many more people need help. The people who were struggling economically before are still struggling, and that often tends to be more geographically focused in West Louisville. But what we know with this crisis is, a number of people who were making ends meet and okay before, are now being pushed over that edge where they’re in need as well. What we’ve seen is, people who were in need before are also in need, but we also have a whole new set of people and families who are in need who were doing okay on their own before. So we’ve seen that we have an overall greater need across our whole community in addition to the needs there prior to COVID-19.”
Will the fund be extended beyond what it has provided for individual households so far?
“The original goal of this part of the fund was to get people through the gap of when federal funding was going to be provided. We weren’t trying to replace any support people could get through the government, but trying to help people get money sooner.
We know the fund can’t do everything and the fund can’t last forever, but we were really hoping that the fund could really serve as a gap filler for a number of individuals and households while other things were being stood up.”
Is there a monetary goal the fund hopes to reach?
“We didn’t have a specific goal per se, we just hoped that the community would step forward and that we would create a place where everyone would feel comfortable participating. We know that in times of crisis, many people want to help, but often don’t know how. The hope for the One Louisville Fund is that we could create one place, one home, where people could come to contribute.
We’ve been blown away, so happy and honored for the support that people have provided and are so proud of this community for stepping forward to the tune of $10 million.”
In your own personal opinion, do you think that the overall goal of the Community Foundation has shifted since COVID-19? Do you expect operations to go back to normal once the pandemic is behind us?
“I think we have to continue to adapt. At the Community Foundation, we change our funding every year to try to look at how we can make the greatest impact. What I can say is, we know that based on the times now, we have to continue to shift again. That is part of what we do at CFL, we do that most years, we try to change what we’re doing to meet the needs of the community. And this certainly is doing that in a much more aggressive form.”
How does the Community Foundation and you as an individual feel about how the pandemic has affected our community and the city of Louisville as a whole?
“What I’m seeing through this is that people are collaborating more. Funders, people who are doing work in this community, I’m seeing more collaboration than ever. And what I really think is important, is that we hold ourselves to an even brighter future after this. I’m just really eager for us not to go back to normal or even develop a new normal and to look at how we can be more than we were before this.
I read a saying years ago, ‘Where there’s crisis, there’s opportunity.’ So in my mind, we’re certainly in a crisis, and I think that all of us together have the opportunity to be different on the other side and that will have made surviving the crisis meaningful. That will make us better by being on the other side.
I think as funders, both at CFL and in the community, my greatest hope is that this increased collaboration that we’re seeing is carried through to the other side as our own self improvement that we’ve learned and become wiser and gained through this process.”
If someone wanted to get involved in a more hands on way rather than just donating monetarily, how could they do so?
“Specific to this fund, a donation online is very helpful, anything from $10 on. I also think that for those who might not be in a position to donate financially, that they could do something nice for someone around them or someone that they haven’t helped before. That may mean something simple, like helping a neighbor with a chore, or it may mean providing a meal for someone. I think the fund is a really powerful tool and we would love for people to engage with the fund, but it’s also really powerful to have people consider other ways to help people around them.
For everything there is a season, and the One Louisville Fund was stood up really quickly, with a lot of partnership and a lot of thoughtful contribution, and it’s really important for us that it serves a purpose and that it helps during this challenging period, but we also don’t want to take away from the really good work that our nonprofits are doing longterm by raising their own funds and so forth.
For me, I consider the most important piece of the One Louisville Fund to be that the community has come together, we are doing it in a collaborative way and seen over 1,000 donations. So just a sense of coming together and that we are here for each other. And how does this one tool, while there are many other tools, do something unique at a time where our community needs it, is really the focus we’ve held through this process. And we know that one tool can’t do everything, but we hoped that this tool would be something that other tools weren’t.”
What is the change you hope to see come from this fund in terms of what it will provide and alleviate, and where do you hope to see us as a community and a city in the future?
“I hope that we continue to work together and to recognize that any individual or household’s success matters and their wellbeing matters to all of us. And if there’s a portion of our community that is suffering or not thriving, that ultimately, it affects all of us. I read something about the greatest form of connection is ultimately the greatest isolation we have ever seen. It shows how really connected we all are. So my personal hope is that we remain really attuned to the connectivity between us because I think it’s really important and I hope that people don’t just go back to the way things were. I hope that we recognize our connections going forward and into the future.” V
To donate to the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund, visit cflouisville.org/one-louisville.
David Fenley opens his home and shares picturesque garden and pool restoration
By Shirelle Williams
Photos by Kathryn Harrington
The saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is safe to say that Louisville real estate investor, David Fenley, believes the same. As a high school student, Fenley would drive through Louisville’s aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods, gaining inspiration for what his own home might look like someday. One particular home he was always fond of and described as, “The dream home of all dream homes,” is now his; a white Georgian colonial style house that sits on a hill in Louisville’s East End. Years later and now the owner of this charming Southern home, Fenley is dedicated to preserving and restoring its original beauty.
Built in 1927 and located on 13 acres of land, he admires the deeply rooted characteristics of the home and has maintained these qualities. “It even has the original boiler that puts out steam heat,” says Fenley. The real estate mogul shares that purchasing and restoring historic homes is a hobby for him and that this home is his third. He believes investing in older homes comes with an obligation, “It’s being a good steward of these properties and that’s what I love to do. I feel a responsibility to do it.”
Flowing from the living room’s “Gatsby” nostalgia, sophisticated décor and through its magnificent doors, is perhaps the most breathtaking feature of this home: the garden and pool area. There is a formal English garden with a water fountain standing from decades before, and peonies and tulips that still sprout from their 100-year-old roots.
However, Fenley expresses that restoring these delicate features of his garden and land is not easy. Most of its original trees have a rigid restoration program needed to bring them back to life. He has planted nearly 350 trees since beginning the project in 2015, a project he foresees will continue for many years to come. His curated “green wall” around the home consists of pine, Nellie Stevens Hollies and Norway spruces. “I love trees. There is a beech tree here that is 175 years old!” says Fenley. One landscaping touch he implements is memorial trees, planted for past loved ones and friends. “I plant them with a plaque next to it.” To him it is a passion to do the work that he hopes owners can enjoy in the next 100 years.
One feature impossible to miss is the astonishing pool house. It is crafted with a brick slate roof and equipped with a full kitchen, hot tub, sauna and fireplace. You can easily feel the mood of vacation in this backyard thanks to these luxurious features. “It’s perfect for small family gatherings,” Fenley says. His next plan for his grand outdoor space — once we are all able to congregate again — is to host a murder mystery party. He plans for it to be fully 1920s themed giving a nod to the history of the home. We hope we’ll get the invite! V
How to exercise while adhering to new social distancing guidelines
By Jeff Howard
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson
Models: Mark Eliason, Mary Charles Leasure, Charles Walker, Mary Gwen Walker and William Walker
When the pandemic started, none of us had a clue what was going to transpire. We closed Milestone on a Wednesday and started streaming live workouts the following Monday. What a lesson we had to learn about technology and what the future might hold. That Monday, I set up my iPhone in a light ring — yes I know I’m not a millennial on TikTok yet — and filmed a workout with no equipment from my sunroom. We were naive and clueless of the response the live stream workouts would have and received over 6,000 views! We realized that, with all the craziness happening, people wanted to stay active and consistent. The following weeks I live-streamed from my driveway and sunroom, learning that this new technology wasn’t completely impersonal. I heard from numerous people that I had crossed paths with along my journey and they started working out with me on this new frontier.
Unfortunately, due to the sudden stay-at-home lifestyle, combined with entertainment and boredom, people staying at home started putting on unwanted weight. But here are a few tips to help get those extra coronavirus pounds off:
Fast and try to eat from 12-8 p.m. Give yourself an eight-hour window.
Drink water when you feel hungry, or a cup of coffee or tea.
Snack on healthy foods, like fruits, nuts and vegetables. Get rid of processed snacks.
Move, even if it’s just walking or parking your car further away from the store.
The gyms are re-opening and with this is going to come new gym health and safety guidelines. Social distancing will still be at the top of the list. When you head back, you’re going to notice more plexiglass screens in places where you interact with staff, tons of hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility and equipment like treadmills and cardio machines blocked off to help with distancing. You will also find that the gym hours may be adjusted so they can clean and disinfect the space used. For example, Milestone Wellness Center has ordered hundreds of masks for clients and employees as well as devices to take employees’ temperatures. Milestone also purchased a Clorox 360 system that is an innovative electrostatic sprayer that delivers a trusted Clorox solution. All exercise clubs have added emphasis on cleaning their facilities, providing hand sanitizer to members and contactless check-ins.
But with that being said, I believe we will come through this better, healthier, more fit and grounded. We cannot stop time and summer is fast approaching. I have designed a quick workout you can do at home to get you summer ready! I call it the Quick 30 because you do each of the following exercises 30 times. All you need is a mat and water for hydration.
1. High Knee Jog
Start in a standing position, lift your knee, then alternate.
2. Side to Side Squat
Start in a standing position, lower your body to the ground, do hand touches, lift upwards and hop sideways. Touch the ground with opposite hands, then jump back to starting position.
3. Plank Squat
Start in a plank position, jump forward, then jump back into plank position.
4. Tricep Dips
Start facing in a supine position, hands facing forwards towards your feet. Then lower your body to the floor, bending at the elbows, then lift upwards.
5. Lunge Back Kick
Start in a lunge stance, lift your knee up, then kick forward pushing through the heel. Finish 30 on one side, then repeat on the other.
6. Lunge Oblique Crunch
Start in a lunge position with your knee on the floor. Lift your knee forward and connect with the opposite elbow. Finish 30 on one side, then repeat on the other.
7. Reverse Plank Dip
Start facing in a supine position, hands facing forwards towards your feet with your legs extended. Lower your body to the floor, bending at the elbows, then lift upwards.
8. Side Plank Leg Lift
Start in side plank and lift your leg upwards, then lower. Finish 30 on one side, then repeat on the other.
I’m unsure of what the future holds, but what I do know, is that movement causes endorphins and positive chemical changes in the body. So, that being said, a little movement will go a long way. Until next time, I will hopefully see you as I’m streaming somewhere on social media giving the gift of fitness. V
Jeff Howard is a world-renowned fitness presenter who resides in Louisville. He also serves as promotional director of fitness for Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center.
Determining what we can and cannot be certain about regarding coronavirus
By Steve Humphrey
Illustration by Andrea Hutchinson
Except in trivial cases, certainty is mostly absent in science. Rene DesCartes famously searched for something of which he could be certain, and found it only in his slogan, Cogito, ergo sum, or “I think, therefore I am.” As I have explained in previous columns, the best we can hope for is a high degree of confirmation for our hypotheses, but no substantive theory can be verified or proven. All we can do is calculate the probability that some claim is true.
Now, for some, a high probability can be quite comforting. When I read that, as of this writing, there have been fewer than 6,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Commonwealth and fewer than 300 fatalities, given a population of some 4.5 million, the chance of contracting the virus is .0013. The chance of dying, even after having gotten the disease, is only 5%. This gives me great comfort. It is extraordinarily unlikely that I will die of the disease. But, for others, that extremely low probability is still pretty scary. What they would like is some assurance of certainty, that they will not, or even can’t, get or spread the virus. Unfortunately, such certainty is not available and will never be available.
Some “experts” play on our fears by manipulating the data or noting that some hypotheses cannot be “proven.” For example, a while ago, the head of the World Health Organization announced that there was no evidence that the presence of antibodies conferred immunity upon someone who has survived the disease. Now, there are several things that can be said about this, aside from the fact that it is a dumb thing to say. For one, what would count as evidence for the claim, such that there is none available? It seems to me that if the claim that antibodies confer immunity is true, then we wouldn’t expect to see a large number of reinfections, and in fact, there have been very, very few. This is evidence. Further, there is also little, if any, evidence that the presence of antibodies does not confer immunity, and for the vast majority of coronaviruses (Sars-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, and it is one of many similar viruses, all referred to as coronaviruses, that cause colds and flus), the presence of antibodies does provide immunity. Further, there are degrees of immunity, ranging from life-long total immunity to partial, short-lived immunity. So, while it is true that we can’t “prove” that immunity can be achieved, it is misleading to suggest that it can’t or won’t be. Finally, if epidemiologists really believed that immunity was impossible, why are they working on developing a vaccine? A vaccine is just an injection of weakened or dead viruses (or a surrogate for such) that is intended to provoke the body into developing antibodies to the virus. This is no different from having the disease and recovering from it.
There is also the question of a “cost-benefit” analysis. We must balance the potential cost that our behaviors might engender against the benefit derived from those behaviors. This is difficult, if not impossible, to establish objectively, because it is a matter of values and values are subjective. For some, the benefit derived from being able to travel freely through the community is not worth the cost of contracting or spreading the disease. But this must be analyzed in terms of the probabilities. If getting the virus is very unlikely, and returning to a job would have great value, then loosening restrictions makes sense. But if you are not unhappy under quarantine and don’t need to get out to make a living, then the benefit does not outweigh the risk no matter how small. But I hope you can see why some people are chafing under the restrictions and protesting against them. For a public official, this is a nightmare: how to balance these incompatible, but equally rational, demands.
This brings up another point. Suppose performing some action — wearing a mask, or gloves, or spraying some antiviral agent on everything you touch — would reduce your risk by some minimal amount. Suppose it would take your risk from .0013 to .001. Would it make sense to take those additional steps, especially if they became onerous? And, by taking more and more precautions, we can reduce the risk, but only by miniscule amounts. The rules for social distancing say stay six feet apart. Where did that number come from? Presumably, staying eight feet apart would reduce risk and 20 feet apart would reduce it even more. But nothing can guarantee that it would prevent infection.
A final remark about certainty: certainty is a feeling, not a fact. Some feel so confident in their views that they are certain that they are right. Whereas they might be right, there is no certainty involved. Feeling certain is not the same as being certain, and the latter, as I have said, is virtually impossible. As my father used to say, “Only a fool is certain.”
Steve Humphrey has a Ph.D in the history and philosophy of science, with a specialty in philosophy of physics. He teaches courses in these subjects at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has taught them at the University of Louisville.
How to find a life partner during and after coronavirus
By Liz Gastiger and Kevin
Weddings that Kevin and I have attended in the past were so wonderfully orchestrated that they’ve left us speechless with handkerchiefs in hand. With great wedding professionals, it is no wonder wedding moments last so long. The wedding scene in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” can leave a lump in your throat. But my topic this month is how do you orchestrate finding your partner? Who plans that moment or opportunity? It’s mostly you. As lifestyle restrictions to target a single new health risk are lifted, how are you going to get back out there to meet someone?
To mask or not to mask, may be a question. I’ve had conversations with masked friends and acquaintances whom I’ve known for years. I find myself concentrating on their eye expressions and from my memory I imagine what their faces are expressing. I’m a visual person. I can remember what I see without a doubt. Others, I know can concentrate on a person’s words. But almost every day, light conversations don’t convey the entire message based on the words used. Rather, you subconsciously read the face and get a visual impression that leaves you a “feeling” of what the person felt, “beyond the words” so to speak. “People hear what they see,” this is a famous line from the movie, “Beyond the Sea” about Bobby Darin. Truly, many people like what they’re hearing if they like what they are seeing. Sometimes before liking someone, you may see them several times before you like what you see and listen with feeling.
Now you might say, what is the point? Are the lifestyle restrictions in place limiting our chances of happiness through meeting someone special? Well, only you can decide. When I first saw Kevin all the other people in the room disappeared. I got a feeling I could always talk to him about anything. Was it what he said, who can remember, or how I felt from what I saw in his face? One must decide for themselves. A friend brought us together.
To focus on finding a partner, an article in Bustle by Lea Rose Emery, from three years ago before all the every day restrictions started, lends some insight. Here are the percentages of how people met their partners:
1. Through Friends: 39%
2. At Work: 15%
3. At Bars or Other Public Areas: 12%
4. Through Sports, Religion, or Hobbies: 9%
5. On a Dating App: 8%
6. Through Family: 7%
7. Through School: 6%
8. Through Other Circumstances: 3%
9. Through Speed Dating: 1%
In summary, to meet that possible life partner one should maintain and add on good friends through these hard times for your best percentage chance. Don’t dismiss throwing in some of the activities of two through four to raise your chances to as high as 75 percent. Dating apps and speed dating can be costly and seemingly the more low percentage activities to meet someone special.
Lastly, there is one other perspective on life to leave you with. People fear the unknown or what they feel they can’t control, which leads to false perceptions. For instance, there is a perception that planes are more fatal than automobiles. But in fact, you are far safer in a plane than an automobile. The National Safety Council website states that the odds of dying from a motor vehicle crash are 1 in 106, and as a passenger on an airplane, they are listed online as “Too few deaths in 2018 to calculate odds.” It also states that the lifetime odds of death from heart disease, cancer or chronic lower respiratory disease are much more likely at approximately 1 in 6, which shouldn’t be conflated with coronavirus statistics.
Regarding the odds of death from COVID-19, the NSC website states that it’s “too early to know for sure.” But with the new online figures coming in every day, you can calculate the fatalities in the US from COVID-19 at about 1 in 4,641 by combining the odds of first catching the coronavirus and the odds of it being fatal. Per the NSC website, a person is more likely to have a fatality from over a dozen other causes that we perceive we have control over.
I may not listen well, but I know what I’m seeing to obtain my feelings. I try to learn and use my own common sense to stay away from unsafe activities, and I try to get a good perspective on life to limit the fear of the unknown or what most think we can’t control. V
Churchill Downs: May 2, 2020
Derby in the time of coronavirus
By Liz Bingham
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson
It was a Kentucky Derby day like no other on May 2, 2020 when The Voice-Tribune photographer, Andrea Hutchinson, visited an empty Churchill Downs on what would’ve been the bustling, fan-filled Kentucky Derby 146.
Not since World War II has Churchill Downs been empty on the first Saturday in May. It was a day we will all remember that will hopefully make us truly appreciate the beauty, excitement and joy that the first Saturday in May holds for us here in Louisville, KY at Churchill Downs Racetrack.
We look forward to the rescheduled Kentucky Derby day on September 5, 2020 and hope we can all join together at that time to celebrate this treasured tradition. We can just hear it now, those three simple words that lead to the most exciting two minutes in sports, “And they’re off!” Until then, we can still enjoy the memories of Derbys past and look forward to many more Kentucky Derbys to come.