Arkansas governor urges CDC to provide clear path to endemic status

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Monday urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide clear guidance that will allow states to transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic and into endemic status. 

“We need the CDC to help us to have the right standards to end this pandemic and move to more endemic status,” Hutchinson said during a meeting with President Biden, Vice President Harris and other governors as part of a meeting of the National Governors Association.

“And so that’s an important element that we as governors, in a bipartisan way, hope that the CDC can be helpful to define that more clearly,” added Hutchinson, who chairs the association. “We want to go from today to more normal.”

The governors had met earlier with Jeff Zients, the head of the White House COVID-19 response team.

“We got a way to go on that, in my view, but we’re moving,” Biden said of the pandemic. “I think it’s all about making sure we have the same standards we’re applying across the board.”

Biden said the administration would “try like the devil to keep schools open,” something Hutchinson had thanked the president for supporting so clearly.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a Monday briefing that the current state of the pandemic and accompanying restrictions are not “the new normal,” noting that the country is still seeing high levels of infections and hospitalizations.

Hutchinson’s call for a clear set of guidelines to help Americans ease back into normal life comes as recent polls have shown much of the public is fatigued and frustrated by the pandemic two years after the first cases were detected in the United States.

The Arkansas governor has been a consistent partner for the White House on pandemic messaging, as he has urged vaccinations in a conservative state and praised Biden for his efforts to depoliticize the pandemic.

Updated at 1:24 p.m.

Tags Arkansas Asa Hutchinson Coronavirus COVID-19 Jeff Zients Jen Psaki Joe Biden

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