I think it’s safe to say we’re all a little disappointed in Arkansas right now. As a Jonesboro native with family across the state, I've seen firsthand this region’s robust sense of pride and dignity. Which is why I find it so surprising that we’re just rolling over and letting this COVID situation get away from us.

They’re calling us the “new epicenter” for the Delta variant, but according to US News & World Report, Arkansas is only the third least vaccinated state in the country. We’re letting Mississippi and Alabama beat us! The Arkansans I know would never settle for bronze, especially when “experts” essentially dared us to own this virus by pre-emptively naming it after the Delta region.

It really shouldn’t be so hard for Arkansans to set the example in ignoring science and public welfare. We’re 41st in education after all. And 49th in healthcare (looking at you, Mississippi)! Perhaps we should lean on another of our strengths (48th in Crime & Corrections) and harshly penalize vaccination?

Arkansas has faced challenges before. Just look at Gallup’s Well-being Index where we can’t seem to edge out West Virginia as the unhappiest and unhealthiest state in the union. But when others may underestimate us, I honestly believe Arkansas can really lick the coronavirus. Even if they say we can't do it, I’m sure we have it in us. Or at least, we will. Together, Arkansas, we can knock ‘em dead.

John Abernathy

Jonesboro