On Sunday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that new shutdowns and mask mandates could be on the table if COVID rates continue to rise in his state.
Partial transcript as follows:
DICKERSON: Do you have to make a policy choice? I know you’ve said you don’t want to shut things down, but if these numbers keep getting worse, do you have to think about anything? I don’t know, mask mandates, anything to protect people from this portion of the population that is so resistant?
HUTCHINSON: Well, theoretically, that could be on the table, but in reality, we’re beyond that. We know what we need to do. And I don’t believe even with the increase that we’ve seen in hospitalizations, that we’re going to go back to the levels we were last winter. But it is a concern. But I don’t believe that you’re going to go back to the heavy government restrictions that we had at the outset of this pandemic. People know what to do. They’re instructed in it. And we have to count upon their individual responsibility to do the right thing. We’re hoping that we’ll get there.
DICKERSON: One more quick question on this. Trends experts say that this Delta variant plus the fall and winter, things are going to get worse. Do you have to start making preparations now in case there continues to be hesitancy and those predictions turn out to be true?
HUTCHINSON: Well, the Delta variant is a great concern to us. We see that impacting our increasing cases and hospitalizations. And so, yes, you have to take the counsel of a medical expert seriously whenever they look at this coming winter, although I don’t think we’re going to get there. We do have to have those contingency plans in place in the event we do see challenges coming this next winter.
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