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Due to summer travel, an Arkansas health official warns of a potential COVID-19 recurrence



Little Rock, Arkansas – The COVID-19 pandemic’s status as a national public health emergency was officially terminated by the federal government in May after more than three years, 104 million positive cases, and 1.1 million fatalities.

Health authorities in Arkansas and across the nation are cautioning that although the emergency may be over, the virus is not, as more people congregate and travel for the summer.

The number of COVID cases in the state appears to be increasing upward, according to Dr. Robert Hopkins, chief of internal medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, who stated this on Monday.

“The numbers from the state health department, they are updating numbers weekly,” Hopkins said. “The last couple of weeks it looks like they have been going up.”

Hopkins claimed that over the past two weeks, he has used COVID-19 to treat a number of patients.

Fortunately deaths have not gone up. That is a plus,” he said. “And I have not heard that there has been a big increase in people in the hospital from my hospital colleagues – but that is always a concern.”

Hopkins said COVID is something that should be kept in mind as viral infections grow and kids get ready to return to school.

“As I think about kids going back to school, I am hoping that the discussions in the schools have been around ‘What can we do to improve our indoor air quality?’, ‘Do we have EpiFilters in classrooms?’, ‘Do we have a way that when it is not 100 degrees out that we can open some windows and get some air circulating?’ Those are the kind of things I would be thinking about,” Hopkins said. “For those that have immune problems or have chronic illnesses, respect them if they are wearing a mask. That is not saying anything other than they are trying to protect their own health. We should not have any sniping at people for doing what they can for trying to stay healthy.”

He asserted that he thinks there is a particular cause for the rise in infections: Travel.

“It relates to travel,” he said. “I have talked to friends and family members that have been flying lately and you almost see nobody in a mask. We know that air travel is one of those ways that we easily transmit viruses from person to person, particularly airborne viruses.”

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