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Folks it is past time for spinning and grinning and packed bars and schools open for business as if community transmission isn’t happening.

1,183 new cases, 15 more deaths and 406 more active cases on a Saturday?

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Yes, we’ve turned a corner as a state health officially said wishfully a few weeks back. And it appears to be a one-way street to disaster.

And what did the governor have for us today? Be of good cheer. It was a “good testing day.” Jesus wept.

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There are 1,183 new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas. While we saw a good testing day with 13,740 tests performed, our number of new cases continues to remain too high. Let’s encourage each other to wear a mask, keep your distance & avoid careless gatherings.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has reported that health officials in Arkansas, as well as the weekly White House coronavirus task force report, have made specific suggestions to address the crisis in Arkansas, a national leader in new cases, deaths and the positive rate of infection.

Earlier this month, the Health Department presented Hutchinson with options for curbing the spread of the virus that ranged from holding more frequent news conferences, closing bars and restaurants to on-site service, and barring gatherings of more than 10 people.

His response?

Asked Friday if he planned to implement any of those measures in response to the spike in cases, Hutchinson said the state is “in the process of deploying rapid testing (antigen) to some of the high-count areas of our state as well as continuing to improve the effectiveness of our contact tracing work.”

 

“In terms of our efforts to promote compliance with public health guidelines, we are continuing to increase our public awareness campaign,” the Republican governor said in a statement.

His public awareness campaign, particularly in rural areas, has been a demonstrable failure. Dozens of school districts are danger zones for COVID rates, despite the state’s higher bar for determining what constitutes a “red zone.”

But we are Ready for Business, by God. The chamber of commerce must be served as well as politics.

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The governor won’t assure safe and full elections by allowing earlier or extended counting of absentee ballots to cope with a flawed state law and a Trump-crippled U.S. Postal Service. Too many people might vote.

Nursing homes are facing dreadful problems. Did the state ease up too soon on them at the behest of the nursing home lobby?

Priority One of the Hutchinson administration is not well-being of common folks. Sometimes it’s incompetence. See the botched unemployment assistance program.

Sometimes it’s malignant ideology. They hate Little Rock school teachers so much that the state-controlled Little Rock School District isn’t allowed to give teachers a full day to recoup from the dual responsibility of in-person and remote teaching. Other school districts are.

With a growing number of school people and their families dead and ill, the governor insisted last week that it’s perfectly safe to play football. Because, dammit, you can’t deny Arkansans their high school football.

The governor promises to announce a stepped-up public campaign Tuesday. It’s too late for PR. His winks and nods and refusal to rebuke Donald Trump’s pandemic failures have left too many people in Arkansas convinced the virus is a hoax and masks are worthless. Hell, it’s mostly — mostly — just old people dying.

Several have noticed the upturn of negative indicators since schools reopened. Coincidence?

From the first, the governor said you just couldn’t tell Arkansas people what to do. With that signal, sheriffs around the state proved him correct by refusing to enforce his tardy mask mandate. He isn’t enforcing it either.

If I sound mad it’s because I am.

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The line is open.