The Only State Where New Coronavirus Cases Are Going Down Right Now

This state experienced one of the worst outbreaks in the nation. Now, it's turning things around.

Look at any map that tracks the spread of coronavirus these days, and you'll be overwhelmed with the scope of our current surge. As reported by The New York Times, a whopping 42 states and U.S. territories are currently seeing a rise in newly confirmed cases, while 11 more are holding steady at their current numbers. Only one state has defied the odds and experienced a decrease in coronavirus cases this week. That state, surprisingly, is Arizona—which just weeks ago earned the grim distinction of having one of the nation's most severe coronavirus outbreaks.

At its peak in early July, the Arizona Department of Health announced a single-day record of over 5,200 new cases. By comparison, this week, the state has recorded an average of 2,614 new daily cases—a 28 percent decrease from the average just two weeks ago.

The waning numbers reflect a series of interventions recently issued by Gov. Doug Ducey. First, the governor reversed his position on masks, granting cities and counties the right to mandate mask-wearing at local levels. Next, he rolled back reopenings by shuttering all bars, movie theaters, amusement parks, and indoor gyms. Thankfully, these changes have triggered a steady downward trend in case counts.

While this comes as respite for hard-hit Arizonans, it's clear the state has won the battle, but not yet won the war. COVID Act Now, a team of health experts that tracks the virus's spread in real time, still classifies the state's threat level as Code Red, indicating "active or imminent outbreak." This is due to its "dangerous level of new cases," "dangerously little testing," and a hospital system stretched precariously thin.

There's little doubt that the state's strategy—moderate compared to more comprehensive lockdown measures—has had a notable impact on the spread of the virus. But only time will tell whether it's enough to bring Arizona's numbers down to truly safe levels any time soon. And for more on how our nation's hotspots are responding to coronavirus, check out 75 Percent of People in These Hard-Hit States Support a Return to Lockdown.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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