LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Some of Arkansas' top doctors are expressing their frustration with some people not taking the virus seriously enough as the state sees another surge in COVID-19 cases.
"It is up to each citizen to adhere to this. This is not an exaggeration. The numbers are as they are," Dr. Jose Romero said.
Dr. Romero was visibly upset and frustrated at the governor's weekly press conference Tuesday as Arkansas sees another day with more than four thousand cases, warning the numbers could get even worse.
"What we are seeing now is what all of us have warned about, is a surge on top of a surge. How much of second surge we have on top of that first surge is unknown," he said.
Dr. Cam Patterson, the chancellor of UAMS, feels we are not doing enough to slow the spread. People need to take it more seriously and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
"What's so disheartening as a scientist and a physician is the amount of disinformation that is impacting people's beliefs about COVID-19," Patterson said.
"We can do more. I see it when I'm driving around, I hear about it."
He said places like churches are holding large services without masks, ignoring guidelines recommended by the governor. He also said some restaurants are often too crowded.
"Having a regular church service in 2021 right now is a recipe for disaster," he said. . You’d hate to think that you thought you were going to celebrate your religious beliefs and in turn, you were going to a super spreader event.”
False information about the vaccine is also rampant, frustrating for Dr. Patterson.
"Everything that is done to influence somebody not to get the vaccine, that's not just impacting them, it's impacting all of us," he said.
At least 70 percent of Arkansans will need to be vaccinated to return to normal. If that doesn't happen?
"We'll continue to have substantial community spread, we continue to have capacity issues in hospitals and continue to have people die," Dr. Patterson said. “There’s no normal at 50 percent vaccination."
At this rate, he expects every Arkansan to have the vaccine available to them by the fall. That's when we may see the governor lifting restrictions. But there have to be enough people willing to get the vaccine. That's why he's asking you to rely on information coming from scientists about the vaccine to make a well-informed decision for yourself and your family.
"No, Bill Gates has not put a microchip in the vaccine, no the vaccine will not cause you to become impotent," Dr. Patterson said. "We've given out over 4-thousand doses of the vaccine here at UAMS without anything even moderately severe in terms of reactions."