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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Gregory Bledsoe, left, along with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, middle, and Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith speaks Monday March 23, 2020 in Little Rock during a daily press conference about the corona virus in Arkansas. See more photos at (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staton Breidenthal) ( Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Staton Breidenthal)

Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe took to Twitter overnight to warn Arkansans of a coming “wave” of covid-19 infections and urge them to abide by social distancing and quarantine restrictions.

“This is not a drill and it is very serious,” Bledsoe wrote. “It’s not a time to panic but it is a time to listen.”

Bledsoe, a practicing doctor, said he has been in contact with health care providers across the state. He wrote that he discussed with one when the state would see the “wave” of patients hit.

That provider, Bledsoe wrote, told him recently he was "feeling the water at [his] toes” as a trickle of covid-19 patients started coming in.

“This concerns me,” Bledsoe wrote, “and seems eerily reminiscent of how Emergency Physicians ... described the situation in New York a few weeks ago. A trickle, then a steady stream, then a torrent of #COVID19 patients that are now beginning to overwhelm the NY health care system.”

Bledsoe compared the way he feels to the way he did when watching videos in the past of the 2004 tsunami hitting Thai resorts.

He wrote that he remembers watching videos of sunbathers on the beach, looking confused or laughing when the water receded.

“But watching the video I had this sense of horror because I knew that moments later the tsunami would hit and sweep all those people out to sea,” Bledsoe wrote. “It made me wonder why no one screamed a warning to those people. Why didn’t someone— anyone— stand up and scream, 'Get off the beach!' at the top of their lungs?”

Bledsoe wrote he hoped if he were ever in a similar situation, he would “have the courage to act.”

He told Arkansans to prepare by sticking to social distancing and quarantine restrictions, minimizing contact and paying attention.

“The wave is coming,” he wrote. “Get off the beach.”


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