The governor of Kentucky has ordered a halt to any and all “coronavirus parties” in his state after someone who attended one tested positive for the disease.

“We have a positive case today from someone who attended a coronavirus party,” Andy Beshear said at a press briefing in the state capital. “And this is the part where I, the person that tells everybody to be calm, have to remain calm myself.

“Because anyone who goes to something like this may think they’re indestructible, but it’s someone else’s loved one that they are going to hurt.”

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Kentucky has seen more than 160 cases of Covid-19, with four deaths. Mr Beshear has ordered all non-essential retail businesses closed until the end of a state of emergency, which has also seen him activate the national guard.

The governor’s tone remained even throughout his address, but he made clear that the circumstances of the new case had infuriated him.

“My job in these press conferences is to talk to you about how we’re going to get through it — and we are — and that we’re going to do everything we can to protect the lives of those around us.

“But this is one that makes me mad. And it should make you mad. Ultimately, the power of forgiveness — we get through this, we should forgive that person. But no more of these, anywhere, statewide, ever, for any reason.”

The party seems to have been held by a group of young adults defying social distancing orders. Similar gatherings have been condemned in other states.

In New York, now the epicentre of the US outbreak, a full lockdown has had to be imposed to stop people violating distancing rules. In Florida, meanwhile, CBS interviews showed young college students on spring break openly dismissing the risk of infection while drinking and mingling on the streets. “If I get corona, I get corona,” said one.

Mr Beshear clearly has no truck with this behaviour. Laying the potential consequences uncompromisingly at the distancing-defiers’ feet, he had sharp words for them:

“We are battling for the health, and even the lives, of our parents and grandparents. And don’t be so callous as to intentionally go to something and expose yourself to something that can kill other people.

“We ought to be much better than that.”

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