The days of homemade masks and business closures are mostly behind us these days, but COVID-19 is still spreading throughout Arkansas, the United States and the world. The Arkansas Department of Health reported nearly 6,000 infections and more than 350 hospitalizations on Jan. 12.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock reported four patients with COVID-19 on Jan. 12. The Central Arkansas area reported the highest count of hospitalizations in the state with 96, according to ADH data. Statewide, 49 patients were in the ICU and 20 were on ventilators.
The ADH also reported 674 active pediatric positive cases in Arkansas — that’s about 11% of all cases reported on Jan. 12.
At-home tests and unreported cases have long skewed the state’s data reporting. An accurate number of positive cases is not currently reported, and health officials have referenced the reported numbers as the “tip of the iceberg” for months.
Arkansas maskers were slim even in the worst of the pandemic, and now it’s rare to see a handful of people wearing masks at the grocery store and large gatherings. COVID-19, while not being spread at life-halting speeds like it once was, still has an effect on thousands of Arkansans.
Since the start of the pandemic, 12,743 Arkansans have died from COVID-19. According to a study from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, one in four adults in the country experienced a loss of a loved one during the pandemic.
“People who have suffered loss during the pandemic may still be suffering,” said UAMS Assistant Professor Don E. Willis. “The impact of the pandemic does not end at the point of death, but ripples out across social networks. Even if the last COVID-19 death were to occur tomorrow, the staggering loss of life from the pandemic will likely be impacting the lives and health of the bereaved for many years to come.”
Despite the data and evidence, Gov. Sarah Sanders signed an executive order Friday declaring to “move beyond COVID.”
Today I was proud to sign an executive order terminating five existing orders on COVID.
In Arkansas, we will not have mask or vaccine mandates. We will not shut down churches or schools. And we will move beyond COVID.
I stand for freedom and it’s time to get back to normal.
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) January 13, 2023