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Democratic Caucus Calls for Stronger Response to Covid-19

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Arkansas Senate Democratic Caucus calls for stronger actions to protect Arkansans from Covid-19

Caucus cites recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the CDC

Little Rock, December 18, 2020:  The Arkansas Senate Democratic Caucus is calling for the state to take stronger actions to protect all Arkansans from Covid-19, save lives, and limit the economic fallout due to the pandemic.

Arkansas Senate Democrats cite recommendations made by the White House Coronavirus Task Force (WHCTF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). State surplus dollars, in addition to any relief provided by the United States Congress, could fund the protective measures.

According to a November 29 report from the WHCTF, 66 (or 88 percent) of Arkansas’s 75 counties have moderate to high rates of community transmission. Thirty-five counties (or 47 percent) are considered “red zone” counties, where the rate of transmission is greater than 10 percent.

The state’s hospitals continue to operate under incredible strain, as one in every 193 Arkansans tested positive for Covid-19 between Friday, December 11, and Thursday, December 17.

Arkansas saw 3,039 new cases of Covid-19 on December 17, a single-day record. Just two days earlier, the number of known deaths due to the disease had climbed above 3,000, meaning that the virus has likely claimed the lives of at least one in every 1,000 Arkansans.

That same day—Tuesday, December 15—leadership in the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate announced that lawmakers would not hold a vote to affirm Governor Asa Hutchinson’s public health emergency order, which is set to expire on December 31. The governor had asked lawmakers to vote to affirm the order during a live, televised address on Thursday, December 10.

In that address, the governor warned of a “triple surge” in new cases if Arkansans don’t take proper precautions in the coming weeks. While individual actions and responsibility are needed to check the spread of this disease, the state can and should play a stronger role in protecting all Arkansans, both from the disease and its economic fallout.

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