Covid outlook grim for state as deaths could pass 10,700 next month

Act like your life depends on it is an old saying but still holds true today when it comes to Covid.

If you want to live, get vaccinated and if you have, get boosted. Keep wearing a mask and avoid crowds.

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The world is in the middle of a plague that has killed millions globally and more than 820,000 in the United States. In Arkansas, the death count passed 9,131 on Thursday as 18 people have died as the result of Covid.

For context, the Covid cemetery would be the state’s 43rd largest city, ahead of Hope’s 8,952 people but behind Clarksville’s 9,381.

In a Thursday afternoon press conference, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state added 4,978 positive Covid cases in a single day. Of that, 1,158 cases were reported here in Pulaski County.

The total amount is the highest number the state has seen in one day and Hutchinson pointed out that those numbers don’t include home test results.

In terms of death, the ongoing pandemic is far and away the state’s largest mass casualty event as it heads into year three and across two presidencies.

The closest comparisons now are war deaths.

According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, 3,814 Arkansans died in World War II with 409 dying in Korea and 397 dead in Vietnam. Those 4,620 dead aren’t even half of the Covid deaths.

The only thing left is the Civil War.

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas tells the tale, it was, “one of the greatest disasters in Arkansas history. More than 10,000 Arkansans — black and white, Union and Confederate — lost their lives.”

The exponential growth of the Omicron variant and the reality that only roughly half of all Arkansans are vaccinated means the death toll is only going to climb.

The Centers for Disease Control issued a report this week that estimated that the U.S. could see as many as 40,000 additional deaths by Jan. 22.

The Arkansas forecast, above, is grim. There’s no other way to put it as lots of people here are going to die in the next four weeks.

The top-end number from the University of Southern California estimates the death toll in Arkansas will be over 10,700 and other forecasts call for weekly deaths at more than 250.

The best way to avoid that death is to get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask and avoid crowds.