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Arkansas governor: ‘We take the virus very seriously’ but ‘you can’t cloister yourself at home’

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) defended the steps his state has taken to reopen even as it saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases Thursday.

“We have to manage the risk,” Hutchinson said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We take the virus very seriously, it’s a risk, it causes death, but you can’t cloister yourself at home, that is just contrary to the American spirit.”

{mosads}Hutchinson compared social distancing and wearing masks to driving while wearing a seatbelt.

“You can be in an automobile and that is very risky, but you can manage the risk by wearing a seatbelt,” he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

Hutchinson also said Arkansas’ cases were on the rise because the state had ramped up testing.

“We see it because we’re testing more and we’re following and testing where they’ve been coming from.”

“To me it’s a matter of self-discipline and that’s why I talk about the swim party and the fact that you can pass the virus at a swim party,” he added, referencing a pool party after which several attendees tested positive for the virus.

At the same time, “I don’t think we’re going to say you can’t invite anybody to a pool in the backyard of your home,” he added.

The state reported 455 new cases of the virus Thursday, a single-day high. 

Arkansas was one of the few states that never issued a stay-at-home order but it did order a number of coronavirus restrictions that it is now in the process of lifting.

“We’ve got to manage the risk next fall by the infrastructure that we’re building now,” Hutchinson said, noting that the state currently has an unemployment rate about four points below the national average. “Our economy is stronger and will rebound more quickly because it was not all shut down.”

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