Gov. Asa Hutchinson took a break from daily coronavirus briefings this weekend to observe Easter and family birthdays, but he did work in an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union where he again proclaimed the success of his “targeted” approach to limiting public activity.
The Hill summarizes the appearance, at which Jake Tapper asked the governor again why he was a holdout on a broad statewide stay-home order.
Hutchinson did say a broader option was always an option. But he told Tapper, “Right now what we’re doing proves to be successful.” He also said the people of Arkansas had “embraced” the measures. Unanimously? I wouldn’t say so. Some social media postings over the weekend illustrate quite a few holdouts.
Hutchinson said he thought governors in New Jersey and New York, with dense populations, were right to have gone farther. But, Tapper asked, what about Little Rock, which has the state’s densest population and the highest number of coronavirus cases?
“We have a good partnership with mayors,” Hutchinson responded, adding that he negotiated where helpful for mayors to put in place curfews or close parks as needed.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. has a good relationship with Hutchinson and has been deferential to him. But it is also true that Scott said publicly, standing within six feet of the governor at a news briefing, that he’d asked for a stay-home order and Hutchinson had refused it.
Also appearing with Hutchinson, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who last week gave Hutchinson a boost by praising the state’s efforts. Tapper asked him if lives could have been saved by an earlier response. That interchange is shown above.
Obviously, there’d have been an impact of doing things earlier, Fauci said. But he also said it’s unfair to compare the U.S. with South Korea and its successful containment. It’s smaller and had a means to quickly shut off an area where an outbreak had occurred. He declined to be drawn into commenting on the New York Times story on early warnings ignored by the White House. “It is what it is.”
Could lives have been saved by more actions, sooner? No one can logically deny that Fauci said, but he said what goes into such decisions is complicated. “There was a lot of pushback from shutting things down back them,” he said.
Gee. Wonder who pushed back?
I’ll try to add a link to the full episode when it’s posted.