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Hurricane Ida forced many people to migrate in Arkansas, now the state under additional pressure amid Covid-19 wave, increased risk

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Arkansas – The most recent Covid-19 wave in Arkansas made the daily and total cases to reach very high numbers, while the number of deaths officially surpassed the 7,000 mark since the start of the pandemic, completely negative record.

While the state officials are battling the wave, trying to make people get the shot and hospitals face workers and ICU beds shortage, the risk is increasing since more and more people are migrating to Arkansas as a result of the Hurricane Ida.

That potentially means increased Covid-19 risk and even higher transmission rate in a situation where Arkansas is among the states with the lowest vaccination rates and potentially Covid-19 hot spot.

This was once again confirmed by Dr. Robert Hopkins, UAMS Chief of Division of Internal Medicine, who said that Louisiana and Arkansas are both on the front edge of the Covid-19 crisis since both states are seeing high rates of the Delta variant and low vaccination rates.

The official reports issued by the CDC indicate that in the last seven days in Arkansas were reported 14,535 cases, while in Louisiana this number reached 20,939.

“This poses a real challenge for our communities, for our public health, and for patients from both places,” said Hopkins. “We know there are people that are either trying to find a place to stay, or staying with friends, or staying with family, and hopefully in those situations, they are vaccinated. If not, it poses a great risk to anyone who’s not. We start with trying to reach out and help people, but we have to recognize that when we do that, we also have to think about their safety and our safety.”

According to Dr. Hopkins, another thing everyone have to worry about is the possibility of the new variant of the virus that might come in near future if we don’t put the Covid-19 pandemic under control. That means that vaccines will be less and less efficient against the new variants.

“What allows variants and mutations to occur is replication of the virus. Whether it’s in Central Arkansas or Baton Rouge or New York City, if we got virus replicating, there’s potential for variants to emerge,” said Hopkins.

He once again reminded the public that everyone is welcome to get the shot in Arkansas and that every person only needs a valid ID.

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