Governor Hutchinson reiterated yesterday that his COVID-19 strategy is the “right one” and news followed of just how dangerous his strategy is.

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It encourages others to ignore medical advice.

We already know from the numbers that Hutchinson’s so-called strategy — to resist mask and vaccination-or-test mandates — is a failure. We should hit the No. 3 spot in the worst COVID rate cases by tomorrow. We are in the bottom tier of the states on vaccinations. Our death rate is near the top.

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But it’s the wrong time to require masks and vaccinations? Given months of resistance in Arkansas, it’s clear that gentle encouragement won’t work and stronger medicine is required.

Case in point: School Boards in both Springdale and Cabot yesterday decided to end mask rules. They’ve faced the usual noisy minority talking ignorantly about non-existent constitutional rights and bogus Facebook information about ills of masks.

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But when the governor says it’s governmental overreach to require masks or shots, is it not also government overreach at the local level. He gives aid and comfort to the enemies of public health. Arkansans will pay with their lives.