ARKANSAS Governor Asa Hutchinson has had a change of heart regarding the state’s mask mandate.
The politician’s views have changed after recent data shows nearly a 69 percent increase in coronavirus cases and low vaccination turnout.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson regretted signing a law banning a local mask mandate in the state
What did Governor Asa Hutchinson say about his mask mandate?
Governor Asa Hutchinson claims to have regretted signing a law banning local mask mandates in Arkansas after coronavirus cases rose.
The governor has called the state Legislature back for a special session to see how the law could be changed in local school districts.
Hutchinson wants to change the law to allow local school districts to enact their own rules to protect students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
He spoke to the press on August 3, 2021, regarding the mandate, saying: “Our cases were at a low point.
There are 392,000 cases of coronavirus in Arkansas and over a 52 percent increase in hospitalizationsCredit: Getty
“Everything has changed now, and yes, in hindsight, I wish that had not become law, but it is the law, and the only chance we have is either to amend it or for the courts to say that it has an unconstitutional foundation.
“The local school districts should make the call, and they should have more options to make sure that their school is a safe environment during a very challenging time for education.”
Hutchinson also noted that he knew the Legislature would have overridden him had he not signed the law.
How many cases of coronavirus are in Arkansas?
There are 392,000 cases of coronavirus in Arkansas and over a 52 percent increase in hospitalizations.
Currently, 260 patients being treated for the virus were on ventilators, the most since the all-time high of 268 in early January.
Only 37 percent of residents have been vaccinated against coronavirus, one of the lowest rates in the country according to the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Jose Romero, Arkansas’s health secretary, said during the press conference that cases had exploded among young residents.
He added that 19 percent of the current cases were among those under 18, and referring to the data as “sobering news.”
Romero said that while there was no mask mandate for children, he “clearly” recommended it as students returned to class.
What is the coronavirus Delta variant?
Delta was first identified in India in December, right during the country’s largest outbreak when it received the brunt of media attention given the growing number of cases exploding there.
The variant spreads faster than any other strain of Covid.
Given how fast it is spreading and how it has easily overtaken the majority of Covid cases, it prompted the CDC to recommend universal mask-wearing, even for those who are vaccinated.
University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy epidemiologist Michael Osterholm told Newsday that the rate the variant is spreading is far faster than the country is equipped for.
“The number of intensive-care beds needed could be higher than any time we’ve seen,” he said.
He and his team have found that nearly all of the 100 million Americans who are still unvaccinated are likely to get infected with the variant.