A Kentucky mayor wants the locals to remember one thing: Social distancing is key during the novel coronavirus pandemic, which is a “big f—— deal.”
Mayor Gabe Brown of Walton, which is about 30 minutes south of Cincinnati, went viral last week for a blunt and impassioned — and expletive-laced — Facebook post. He called on fellow residents to follow social distancing guidelines and stay at home if possible, which will slow the spread of the virus and help hospitals not be overwhelmed while treating those who are sick.
“Listen up dips— and sensible people,” Brown wrote on March 23 in a Facebook group for the the larger county around Walton.
“I might not have the best bedside manor [sic]. I might not put you at ease like the Governor does, but I don’t care,” he wrote. “You need to realize that this is a serious ordeal. In fact, it’s a big f—— deal. Stay at home.”
“I didn’t give you information to induce panic. I gave you information, so that you’d be informed,” Brown wrote, adding, “I pray every night that the State, County and region that I love with all of my heart will stop doing nonsensical things. Treat this seriously. If you don’t, then screw you (f#– you is what I want to say, but I can’t).”
Confirmed U.S. cases of the coronavirus numbered more than 141,000 as of Monday morning, while more than 2,400 people have died, according to a New York Times tracker.
According to local reports, there have been five cases confirmed in Boone County, where Walton is located in the Northern Kentucky region.
Brown, 39, told CNN on Friday that some local people didn’t believe him about the virus after he alerted Walton of a confirmed case there.
“It’s ridiculous that people were taking this so blahdy-blah,” he said.
“I put out the information that we had gotten our first confirmed case [in Walton]. It came later in the day, and people didn’t believe me,” Brown told CNN’s Don Lemon. “I instantly had people coming back at me saying, ‘You’re trying to incite panic, you’re lying, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ After a few back and forth shots, I‘d had enough of it.”
City of Walton Mayor Gabe Brown of Walton, Kentucky
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Brown said on CNN that he wanted to send a message about the “small town perspective” as the virus has spread: “It’s not a New York problem …. It’s not just a big-city issue.”
“This will pass. Take it seriously. It is here,” he wrote in his original Facebook post. “Act like you have the virus and don’t spread it to other people. I have no doubt that it hasn’t already been here, but testing had been limited. More cases are coming. If you ignore this problem, the worst thing that could happen is that your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles could die. Be responsible.”
He told CNN: “At some point, from a local governmental level, there’s a good chance that a small town mayor is gonna have somebody die in their town and it’s gonna be somebody that they know. It’s gonna be somebody in this community that a lot of people now. I don’t want that to happen.”
Speaking with Spectrum News 1, Brown said he was “a little sorry” for his vulgar language and acknowledged he “flew off the handle.”
But said he had reached a breaking point.
“I’m gonna try to take a more proactive approach here,” he said. Then, with a laugh, he said, “I’m gonna let the governor handle the updates from here on out. He does a better job at it I think.”
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