ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson discusses the COVID-19 pandemic on new episodes of two weekly news programs, Arkansas PBS’ “Arkansas Week” and KARK’s “Capitol View.”
On “Arkansas Week,” Thompson joins state Epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha to talk with host Steve Barnes about the current state of the pandemic and efforts to vaccinate Arkansans against the disease.
The emerging coronavirus variants “are the wild card,” Thompson says.
“We have a large proportion of our state that are resistant or at least hesitant to take the vaccines that would offer them protection, and as those unprotected people come together in groups ― whether that’s a family reunion, whether that’s a church event, where that’s a football game this fall ― we have the real potential for an outbreak just like we did as we started the … pandemic last spring,” he says.
On “Capitol View,” Thompson joins Arkansas Municipal League Executive Director Mark Hayes to talk with host Jay Bir about the likely lasting impacts of the pandemic on Arkansas, particularly in rural parts of the state.
“We saw an explosion of telemedicine,” Thompson says. “As doctor’s offices shut down, we shifted. We accelerated telemedicine by a decade.”
Thompson and Hayes have on-camera experience together: Through much of the pandemic they have been co-hosting regular video updates on COVID-19, the most recent of which was recorded Thursday, May 27, and is available on our YouTube channel.