This Governor Just Warned of "Third Surge" of COVID
A new type of COVID-19—called the Delta variant—is ripping its way through unvaccinated people in America, and one state has been hit harder than others: Arkansas. Only 42% of Arkansas residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. "We're in a race against this Delta variant," said Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson on CNN's State of the Union opposite host Dana Bash Face the Nation today, adding that "every state" should be concerned about this. "We are now going in the wrong direction yet again, we have to be concerned that this would be a trend that could continue," said chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Dr. Cam Patterson. "And if it does, it would appear that we may be in the beginning of the third surge of COVID-19 here in the state of Arkansas." Read on for 5 pieces of life-saving advice for no matter where you live—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Younger People Are Getting Hit With The Delta Variant, Warned the Governor
Bash asked Hutchinson if he was worried about a third surge and might mask mandates be implemented. "The solution is the vaccinations," said Hutchinson, "and Dr. Patterson was with me at my weekly news conference and emphasized the points he made so that that would encourage people to get vaccinated. And in fact, we've done very well in our senior citizens, 65-plus, getting vaccinated, our nursing home residents and staff have a high rate of vaccination, but it is our younger adults that is now getting hit with the Delta variant, which is more contagious, has more severe consequences. And that's the concern has caused an increase in hospitalizations."
The Delta Variant is Dangerous, Warned the Governor
"What we've seen is that as the Delta variant, it's out more, you're seeing vaccination rates increase and we want to accelerate that," said Hutchinson. "So it is a great concern. Today we're celebrating Independence Day. We're having an Arkansas Pops on the River concert, celebrating this great day, but we're also having vaccinations there that will be available to everyone. And that's the kind of thing we're focusing on, making it accessible, making sure everybody knows the need because we're at a race against this Delta variant, which spreads very fast and every state could be faced with this. So we've got to get those vaccinations out."
The Governor Warned We Are in a "Race" Against the Variant
Will there be a third surge? "Wait and see," said Hutchinson. "I don't think so. I think our vaccination rate is sufficient that we can avoid the surge in hospitalizations that puts us in jeopardy, but that remains to be seen." In the race against the variant, "if we stopped here and we didn't get a greater percent of our population vaccinated, that we're going to have trouble in the next school year and over the winter. So we want to get ahead of that curve, working very hard to do that."
The Governor Said His State Was "Rural" and "Conservative" And Thus There is Hesitancy
"In a rural state, in a conservative state, there is hesitancy and you're trying to overcome that," said Hutchinson. "We got the early vaccinations out because people were anxious. They were in a very vulnerable population. Our cases went down dramatically and that slowed the vaccination, right?" But after that, the "urgency diminished. And now it's picking up again. One of the things we're going to concentrate on is working with our employers. They're really one of the keys—obviously the medical professionals are most trusted, but the employers have an opportunity to make it accessible for them, give them paid time off the employees and they can go get vaccination and to encourage them with the right level of education and information. Those are the kinds of strategies that I think will make a difference in the coming days."
How to Stay Safe Where You Are
"If your concern is that the vaccine will cause problems for you, compare 300 COVID-19 positive patients in our hospitals versus zero patients that are in our hospitals because of complications from the vaccine," Patterson said. "The vaccine is safe and extraordinarily effective. It is easy to demonstrate." So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.