Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Arkansas Surgeon General concerned with current status of COVID-19 in the state

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Surgeon General and Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Dr. Greg Bledsoe recently has kept his social media abuzz with his takes on the state’s current status in regards to COVID-19. 

One thread he put out highlighted his concerns based on what he was seeing in the emergency room he works in and also the perspectives of colleagues across the state.

“When you’re looking at the Delta Variant and you’re looking at the numbers of positive cases it’s very worrisome for those of us who are in emergency medicine,” he said.

He said the numbers are correct that the average age of those being hospitalized and even dying is decreasing. He has seen and heard of more patients ranging in age from 20-40.

“And what we’re finding with the Delta Variant is that it’s attacking younger people more severely and so the age of the patients is going down, so we’re very concerned about that,” he explained.

Dr. Bledsoe points out other data that shows the truth about vaccine numbers: the rate of unvaccinated is higher in red states and amongst conservatives.

He also tried to explain his reasoning for why the issue has become a political hot topic.  He believes many in academia and spokespeople for organizations – he uses the American Medical Association as an example – have come out with more liberal stances on issues.  He added that many convey their opinions on things such as gun rights and abortion as superior to those who may disagree with those stances.

“They see them as adversaries. That colors these conversations going forward and I think there has been too much of that inflammatory rhetoric and so now we’re in a situation where we have a public health crisis and a lot of the red-state, conservative voters have tuned these people out,” he said.

Dr. Bledsoe said his tweets were not directed towards anyone in Arkansas and that national networks should do better to clean up the messaging and approach on the COVID-19 vaccine.

He encouraged people to get the vaccine to stop the spread of the virus, but said he won’t condemn anyone who has chosen not to.  He hopes leaders in Arkansas will do the same and be better in their approach. 

“We need to make sure we’re not communicating to people that they’re bad people or their morally inferior or that they’re ignorant or they’re anti-science or anti-healthcare if they’ve chosen to be cautious on this issue,” he said.

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