Gov. Asa Hutchinson ended his daily weekday coronavirus press conferences on a high note last week. What I mean by high note is during his last daily press conference, he announced the highest number of Covid-19 cases reported in one day, 1,107 cases. Not exactly the high note that you want to end on. 

Thousands of people usually tuned into the governor’s press conferences in which he would go over the daily numbers, but also explain other issues that the state and businesses were facing due to Covid-19. He also allowed multiple questions from reporters all over the state regarding a multitude of subjects, including concerns about testing, the number of new cases, where the outbreaks were occurring and help for small businesses. In March during his daily press conferences, he announced schools were going to be closed for on-site instruction and in August announced that schools would open again. He was able to speak directly to the public regarding this public health crisis. 

Transparency during a pandemic is paramount and communicating with the citizens the information that is needed for them to make decisions is crucial. Transparency is always needed, but especially where peoples’ lives are at stake. The weather service alerts citizens when hurricanes are predicted to come on shore, as we’ve seen just in the last couple of months. People could heed the warnings issued and then take appropriate precautions to minimize damage to their health and their property. 

We use tornado sirens when bad weather approaches, alerting citizens to the bad weather and if needed to take cover. Don’t you want to know when something bad is headed your way so that you can decide the action to take that would best safeguard you and your family?

So I was angered to learn last week that President Donald Trump knew that Covid-19 was deadly and yet he chose to lie about the severity of the pandemic. Trump admitted in taped recordings to Bob Woodward, the famed Washington Post journalist who has written a new book about Trump, that the virus is more deadly than the flu, but he chose to downplay the risks of Covid-19 so no one would “panic.”

Really? By downplaying the virus, Trump endangered all of us because those who actually believe him didn’t take the virus seriously and then didn’t take proper precautions to protect themselves, thereby spreading the virus.

Last week, the Huntsville School District reported its first positive case of Covid-19. Superintendent Audra Kimball alerted the faculty, the students, the parents and The Record. She was matter of fact alerting people not only that the district had a student who tested positive, but also to the protocols that the district used in handling the situation. 

She was transparent in alerting the public, allowing those affected to make proper decisions to protect themselves and their families.  Because Kimball was transparent with the facts of the situation, the rest of the community was able to make decisions based upon those facts. Thank you, Audra, for not downplaying the situation and for your honesty.

Ellen Kreth is publisher of the Madison County Record and can be reached at