Arkansas is among 21 states in the “red zone” for its rising rate of coronavirus, according to White House task force standards. But we’re even worse off than that, according to another group
But according to new, comprehensive national guidelines from a network of research, policy and public-health experts convened by Harvard University’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, the latest federal report probably isn’t serious enough.
Why? Because the steps it recommends may be too weak to suppress the virus, and the threshold at which it recommends them may be too high.
The Trump task force, for instance, doesn’t advise authorities to issue stay-at-home orders — anywhere. But if the Harvard experts had their way, 13 states would lock down right now. Another 22 would be considering lockdowns.
Arkansas is one of those 13 states. it’s based on a seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. The Harvard standard for the red zone is higher than the White House — 25 per day versus 14.3 for the White House. The White House recommends no actions in the event of being a red zone state.
In contrast, the Harvard group says that “at the red level, jurisdictions have reached a tipping point for uncontrolled spread and will require the use of stay-at-home orders and/or advisories to mitigate the disease.”
Right now, that would mean 13 of the Trump task force’s 21 red-zone states returning to lockdown: Florida (with a staggering 48.1 new daily cases per 100,000 people), Louisiana (46.2), Mississippi (43.5), Alabama (39.1), Arizona (36.6), Tennessee (34.1), Georgia (33.8), Nevada (33.0), South Carolina (30.1), Texas (27.9), Idaho (27.5), Arkansas (26.4) and Oklahoma (25.6).
Lock down Arkansas? Not with schools about to reopen. Let’s meet at a bar and talk about how stupid these Harvards are. Remember, when drinks are served you can rip that mask off.