‘You’re not going to win simply by a lockdown…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson defended his decision to hold off on implementing a statewide shelter-in-place order, arguing that the social distancing measures his government has implemented have been far more effective.
“If we need to do more we will do more,” Hutchinson told CNN on Sunday. “It’s always an option on the table if we have to shelter-in-place.” But, Hutchinson added, the “targeted approach” he’s taken continues to “prove to be successful.”
Arkansas has asked citizens to wear masks while in pubic and practice social distancing, which means limiting group gatherings to 10 people or less and maintaining a six-foot distance.
Arkansas’s localities have dictated the policies from there, Hutchinson explained, noting he has a “good partnership” with the state’s mayors, and that he’s been able to help individual counties put in place curfews or close parks as needed.
Hutchinson acknowledged that other hard-hit states have had to implement stricter regulations, but that’s not what’s needed in Arkansas, he said.
“It just reflects the flexibility a state needs,” he said. “I applaud New Jersey and New York. They’ve had to really lock down.”
When asked if he thinks shelter-in-place orders go too far, Hutchinson said, “Not at all.”
But Arkansas’s situation just isn’t comparable to the other states, Hutchinson added. Arkansas’s health department reported 1,226 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with only 80 hospitalizations. The state’s hospitals have 8,000 available beds, Hutchinson said.
Arkansas is “beating that trend line” of projected COVID-19 deaths, and the state’s health officials are already optimistic that the number of cases has peaked and that “our tough time is behind and we’re going to be getting better,” Hutchinson explained.
“We have masks and social distancing and the people of Arkansas have embraced that. That gives you success,” Hutchinson said, adding later, “We want to take the long-term approach to this and you’re not going to win simply by a lockdown.”