The present covid-19 situation in Arkansas is an accelerating crisis. Our state is in the top three in covid case increases. We are the third lowest in the nation in numbers of vaccinated residents.
This correlation presents a stark reality that we ignore or belittle at our peril.
It is tragic and disastrous that the national covid pandemic has become political. The virus attacks Republicans, Democrats, and independents with total impartiality.
At this point it is appallingly selfish and misdirected to focus on the blame and credit game that so reprehensibly defines our national politics. Our total attention should be on working together right now to do everything possible to fight this horrible disease and protect our people.
Many state and national political leaders of both parties are speaking out, urging their people to take the vaccines. I applaud them all. Kudos to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson for speaking plainly and earnestly to Arkansans.
The facts that 98 percent of covid patients currently hospitalized in Arkansas and 99 percent of the deaths were unvaccinated people should command our total attention. These numbers do not lend themselves to spin or Democratic/Republican arguments. They are the documentation of a terrifying reality.
"We the people," regardless of our political affiliation or placement on the conservative-moderate-liberal spectrum, have the power to act and save thousands of Arkansans. Simply put, look at the facts and respond accordingly.
Get vaccinated. Please.
I realize that many who are hesitant about taking the vaccine are quite sincere, and I totally respect that. Some feel that they are young and healthy and will be able to survive the virus. Others resent governmental intrusion into their lives. Mistrust of assurances of safety is also a factor.
Briefly, I will address each concern. The young and healthy, albeit at lesser numbers, are also dying of covid. If you are able to endure the virus with mild symptoms, you might be a carrier that infects an elderly or seriously ill person with fatal consequences.
While I share concerns about governmental overreach, where would we be in this pandemic if not for governmental actions by both the Trump and Biden administrations?
There is almost total unanimity of national scientists and medical experts in urging Americans to take the vaccine.
I am going beyond urging. I beg Arkansans to take the vaccine. Your life, the lives of your loved ones, and the health of your state depends upon your doing the right thing.
Harmon R. Seawel of Pocahontas served as a state representative from 1999 to 2004.