Governor addresses longterm health risks associated with economic stalemate


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The longer this COVID-19 outbreak continues, longterm health risks like food insecurity associated with economic stalemate increase in likelihood along with the simple infection numbers. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) addressed those concerns in his Wednesday presser.

“That’s one of the reasons we’ve tried to maintain a good balance of public health but also not shutting down our economy, not sheltering in place,” Hutchinson said.

NWA Food Bank President Kent Eikenberry said COVID-19’s skyrocketing the number of people who need help getting food on the table.

“We’ve seen a large increase in the amount of people who need our services,” Eikenberry said. “Two months ago, there were a bunch of people who were working and getting paychecks. Overnight, through no fault of their own, those jobs just went away.”

Hutchinson said the state’s fully aware of the health risks that stem from a shuttered economy, like increased domestic violence, mental health emergencies and hunger.

Eikenberry said the food bank prepared for this before the outbreak started, and employees are good to meet the demand as long as there’s no positive-case spike in the area. Many scientists expect there to be a national spike at some point in the fall.

“As long as that’s [not the case], and we’re just having to deal with [this], I’m confident we’ll be able to keep up with the need,” Eikenberry said.

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