Health Watch USA Logo Health Watch USA – Coronavirus Messaging

Newspaper Coverage
Back To COVID-19 Home Page 

News Articles & Media Coverage
17.  Somerset-area legislators decry Beshear's restrictions at Chamber meeting with little use of masks or social distancing 
The lawmakers from the Somerset area spoke to "a packed house" that included "a whole host of the community’s business and political leaders," reported Chris Harris of the Somerset Commonwealth Journal. The newspaper's editor, Jeff Neal, told Kentucky Health News that "There wasn’t a whole lot of social distancing, and since they were eating, there were not a lot of masks being used."
The event concerned Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a retired Somerset physician who heads Health Watch USA, which focuses on infection control in health care.
"Events like this are very problematic," Kavanagh told Kentucky Health News. "They usually have many cases or none. With the number of individuals present and the prevalence of the virus in Pulaski County, the odds are nothing will happen, but if the virus was present at the event it can be catastrophic. . . . "  
16.  Kentucky Derby 2020: Why health experts say they agree with Churchill Down's decision
“Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a retired Somerset physician who also had warned against allowing fans at the event, praised Friday's decision.
"It sends a very strong message to the community and Kentucky about how serious this pandemic really is," said Kavanagh, chairman of the patient advocacy group Health Watch USA.
Kavanagh said earlier this week that holding the event largely outdoors would have helped. But it still wouldn't account for people entering the racetrack through the building, passing through hallways, placing bets, buying food and drink, using restrooms or otherwise moving about, Kavanagh said.
And any cheering or shouting tends to "aerosolize" the virus and increase chances of spread, he said.
Though most people who contract the virus don't experience the severe and sometimes fatal symptoms associated with it, that doesn't mean it's not a risk to mingle in a crowd, he said. Even people who appear to have recovered from a less serious case of COVID-19 may be at risk for lasting heart, lung or kidney damage.
“This is one dangerous virus that we don’t know much about," Kavanagh said. "This lackadaisical attitude that you can go out and get infected and everything will be fine if you’re at low risk is just plain magical thinking.””  Yetter D.  Courier Jounal.  Aug. 22, 2020.
15.  Beshear says Kentucky Derby can safely host fans despite COVID-19. Not everyone agrees  
"Any large gathering of people carries risks," said Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a retired physician from Somerset, Kentucky, and chairman of the patient advocacy group Health Watch USA. "That risk is lessened outdoors with social distancing and by the wearing masks."
However, Kavanagh said in an email that shouting, which often happens during the Derby, can cause the virus to "aerosolize" and "defeat the safety of a cloth mask" while causing droplets to "travel much further than 6 feet." "In addition, getting into and out of the stands and use of restrooms is problematic," Kavanagh said.   Yetter D.  Courier Jounal.  Aug. 12, 2020. 
14.  As COVID-19 spread, the feds relaxed rules, and hospitals tried to contain the outbreak. Other infections may have risen 
"Patients need to be repositioned every two hours to prevent ulcers on the skin, said physician Kevin Kavanagh, founder of patient advocacy group Health Watch USA. Doing so will show staff when patients have soiled their beds, he said.   Daily bathing is necessary to prevent hospital infections, given "the dangerous pathogens and compromised patients," Kavanagh said, but bathing takes so many workers that short-staffed facilities too often don't do it."    Odonell J.  USA Today. Aug. 5, 2020. 
13.  Once seemingly insulated, Kentucky's Appalachian counties scramble to stop COVID-19 outbreak 
Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a retired physician and infectious-control advocate in Somerset who runs a patient-safety group called Health Watch USA, said tracing remains a crucial measure, though it gets less effective as cases grow and lab results in some areas take more than a week.   Courier Journal.  July 31, 2020.  
12. Hospitals must treat infection control as a priority, not a profit center. 
"We have gone far too long with not making the proper investments,” warned Kevin Kavanagh, the physician founder of Health Watch USA, in a recent commentary in Infection Control Today. “I fear that, as a society, we may well have to pay the price for this neglect."  STAT. July 1, 2020.   
11.  26,000 COVID-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes Might Spur Federal-State Blame Game
 “Infection control in nursing homes has been almost non-existent for years along with effective regulations to serve as guidance,” Kavanagh said. “We are also concerned with a reactionary program of inspections based on non-specific regulations.”  Kavanagh would like to see a sustained program of oversight using detailed metrics designed to drive a high-quality outcome.  Infection Control Today.  June 2, 2020.
10.  As obesity's link to COVID-19 grows, one family that lost 24-year-old daughter diets together
"Along with making mechanical ventilation harder, being severely overweight can make it harder to breath, reducing the patient's own ventilation, said Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a Kentucky physician and founder of the patient advocacy group Health Watch USA."  USA Today.  May 23, 2020.
9.  Mask or no mask? Why Kentucky's new requirement to battle COVID-19 is causing such a fuss
Getting people to wear them is "absolutely key," in part because modeling suggests that getting most of the public to wear masks is what makes them effective, said Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, head of the patient safety group Health Watch USA.   It's also critical to making consumers, especially older Kentuckians, feel safe to return to stores and help revive the economy, he said.  Courier Journal. May 15, 2020.
8.  Rich hospitals, poor safety plans leading up to coronavirus: Should rules change for them now?
"As many hospitals cut staff and more than 9,200 health care workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, founder of the patient safety group Health Watch USA, said the government shouldn't bail them out after they “put us all at risk.” He calls it "a step in the right direction" that rural hospitals and those with the most COVID-19 patients were getting money Friday, but said "non-profit facilities with net assets in the billions should have to first leverage these assets before receiving public funds." "   USA TOday.  May 10, 2020.
7.  Nelson D.  Blood-pressure drugs are in the crosshairs of COVID-19 research. 
Reuters News Service.  April 23, 2020.   
New York Times:
"Dr Kevin Kavanagh, founder of Health Watch USA, a patient advocacy organization, questioned whether scientists who are funded by the drug industry should be advising clinicians, given the high stakes.
"You need to consider stepping back, and let others without a conflict of interest try to make a call," Kavanagh said."  His organization recommends that doctors temporarily avoid putting new patients on the drugs and warn those currently on them to take extreme precautions to avoid virus exposure.
6.  Morgan-Besecker T.  Patient advocate: State needs more aggressive action to confront COVID-19 deaths.  The Citizens' Voice. April 22, 2020.  
"Kevin Kavanagh, director of Health Watch USA, a patient advocacy group, said efforts to halt the virus from entering facilities fell short with catastrophic outcomes.   "You try to wall off the home from the outside. Once COVID-19 gets into the nursing home environment ... it tends to ravage residents and it does not stop," Kavanagh said.  Many homes tried to halt the spread by isolating residents to a specific floor. Kavanagh said the government must consider taking it a step further and designate one facility to house infected patients."
5.  Sullivan T: Louisville area preacher defies ban on mass gatherings, plans to hold Sunday service.  Courier Journal.  April 4, 2020. 
"Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, the Somerset-based founder of Health Watch USA, argues that church services pose specific and inordinate dangers during a pandemic.   "One of the cruelest characteristics of the coronavirus epidemic is that it strikes fear in the hearts and minds of many causing them to ask for comfort and protection from the God they believe in," Kavanagh wrote in an essay published Friday in Infection Control Today.“And at the same time this virus has made a church service one of the most deadliest places to be in. The combination of singing in close quarters and decreased ventilation is nothing short of a petri dish (or cell plate) for viral growth."" 
4. Jacobes A. Fink S.  How Prepared Is the U.S. for a Coronavirus Outbreak? New York Times.  Feb. 29, 2020.    
"Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, who has studied infection control practices in health care settings, said such facilities might eventually have to limit visitors, or even keep residents under quarantine as a preventive measure. "Nursing homes will be extremely vulnerable to this epidemic, and it will be difficult to implement hygiene practices to prevent the spread," he said."
3.  Kenning C. Why the coronavirus couldn't have come at a worse time for reeling Appalachian Kentucky. Courier Journal. March 21. 2020.  
2. Terrie Morgan-Besecker. NEPA grocery store begins taking customers' temps. The Citizens' Voice. Mar. 24, 2020.  
1.  Healy J, Richtel M, Baker M. Nursing Homes Becoming Islands of Isolation Amid 'Shocking' Mortality Rate. New York Times. March 10, 2020.
"Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, an expert in infection control who has been critical of lax practices at nursing homes, lauded the new guidance that restricts social visits. This extreme level of quarantine is sometimes known as "reverse isolation” and was used to effect during the Spanish Flu epidemic, Dr. Kavanagh said. 'As evidenced by the Life Care Center in Kirkland, once the virus starts to spread in the facility it ravages its residents,” he said. He said that “the importance is in delay.""

This webpage is for guidance only, always consult your healthcare provider and the CDC Website for information before making decisions relating to the coronavirus.