Becky Gillette reports in the Eureka Springs Independent of the spread of coronavirus to Eureka Springs that is suspected to be related to a prisoner released from Cummins.

A man recently paroled from Cummins Unit, a prison that has had 876 inmates and 54 staff members [the numbers are now higher] test positive for coronavirus disease 2019, apparently had no symptoms upon being released. But shortly after coming to Eureka Springs, he developed symptoms and tested positive for Covid-19.

Officials said the parolee, Jad Perkins, 40, was told to self-quarantine, but did not. He apparently infected at least one other person here who also recently tested positive for Covid-19. He was picked up by the Department of Corrections (DOC) for violating parole and was placed in the Carroll County Detention Center Tuesday where several jailers initially walked off the job in protest.

There’s much to talk about here, beginning with the policy not to test released prisoners who aren’t showing symptoms. It’s also worth remembering that free-world employees go home from prisons around the state every day — four of which in Arkansas have now had mass outbreaks. How well do the employees keep distance when they go home? Arkansas is a hotbed, including at the legislative level, for the feeling that it’s time to get back to packing restaurants and discount stores, no matter the potential cost.  Don’t presume a scofflaw attitude or a feeling of invincibility is confined to ex-cons.

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Example, Republican state Sen. Lance Eads of Springdale:

Eureka Springs had no cases. What possibly could go wrong in throwing the doors open again?

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This case isn’t simply about former prison inmates. The controlling policy in Arkansas is to test only people with symptoms (and that hasn’t always been easy or comprehensive.) The silent carriers? They are all over, not just in Cummins, though closely packed populations are undeniably riskier. Nursing homes are deadly, too. Hundreds of health care workers have been infected as well.

The virus has no respect for city limits or county lines, though minorities have been disproportionately harmed here and elsewhere in the U.S. Senator Eads perhaps should read our article about poultry processing plant conditions before proclaiming his home turf, home of Tyson Foods, safe for business as usual. The meat industry doesn’t much like to talk about its infection rate.

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You can be prosecuted for a misdemeanor for violating quarantine. And get thrown in jail for up to a year. That, of course, isn’t exactly a solution.

PS: The noisy din demanding freedom to spread a deadly disease around is NOT representative of the majority sentiment, just as the man in the White House is not representative of the majority’s wish in 2016. The numbers are even stronger about maintaining social distance, but noisy hooligans spurred by a sociopath in the White House and nut jobs ranging from Arkansas legislators to a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court seem to be more influential in affecting policy.

Read this in the Washington Post about new polling.

By 78 percent to 22 percent, Americans believe it is “necessary” for people in their communities to stay at home as much as possible.

The spread is very similar among those of incomes below $50,000 (82-18), those of incomes of $50,000 to $100,000 (77-23), and those of incomes over $100,000 (71-29).

It’s also much the same among rural voters (77-23) and non-college-educated whites (75-25), both demographics that tilt heavily towards supporting President Trump, and are supposed to thrill to the “populist” narratives that Hayes was criticizing.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans overall say current restrictions on businesses are “appropriate,” vs. only 21 percent who say they are “too restrictive.”

Here again, the spread is very similar among those of incomes below $50,000 (56-18), those of incomes of $50,000 to $100,00 (61-22), and those of incomes over $100,000 (60-25).

And again, it’s much the same among rural voters (64-20) and non-college whites (54-28).

…By 80 percent to 20 percent, Americans overall say it’s “necessary” for people in their communities to wear a mask when coming close to others.

 

 

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