Arizona Is Now Seeing COVID Cases Drop After Doing This, Doctor Says
Shutting down these two institutions has helped the suffering state of Arizona turn a corner with COVID.
For weeks, Arizona has been one of the handful of states whose surging coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have sent off a slew of alarms. But now, the Grand Canyon State appears to be headed in the right direction. For example, on July 27, the Arizona Department of Health reported 1,813 additional coronavirus cases. At its peak in early July, the state hit its record of over 5,200 new cases in a day. Local officials say Arizona's COVID spread has slowed down as a direct result of effective public policies, including closing two businesses in particular: bars and nightclubs.
According to Will Humble, MPH, a former director of Arizona Health Service, there are two primary reasons for Arizona's flattening curve of cases, he told Fox 10 Phoenix. First, Gov. Doug Ducey has been encouraging mask-wearing on a regional and as-needed basis. And secondly, he shut down drinking establishments across the state, the very institutions which many believe led to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
The crowded indoor environments of bars and nightclubs bring together inebriated people, shouting to be heard over loud music. And we all know close proximity to others, lack of proper ventilation, decreased inhibitions, and shouting all spell a recipe for spreading coronavirus. During the early days of the pandemic, "the combination of nightclubs, close quarters, young people, and alcohol meant that there was no mitigation whatsoever," Humble said.
At the end of June, however, Ducey issued a new executive order shutting down bars, theaters, water parks, and gyms for 30 days. Now that these places have been closed, it appears that the spread has largely abated.
"If you ask me, quite honestly, the nightclubs lost their privilege," Humble added. "They had an opportunity to open responsibly and they didn't do it. There's no way you can go back and say we trust you to try again."
On July 23, Ducey extended the shutdown of bars and nightclubs and said the order would be reviewed every two weeks.
Bars have been a much-maligned business amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent interview with InStyle, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said: "We need to really take seriously the issue of wearing masks all the time and not congregating in bars. I think we can stop that by just closing [bars] because they are certainly an important mechanism of this spread."
Similarly, during a mid-July appearance on Today, Admiral Brett Giroir, the White House's coronavirus testing czar, made a similar point about the danger of bars. "I want everybody to understand you've got to physically distance, wear your mask, avoid bars, close bars in those hot areas, reduce capacity," Giroir said.
On top of those recommendations, the infamous leaked report from the White House on "red zone" states also advises that those in the critical situation of having more than 100 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents or a positive test rate above 10 percent also close bars. And for more "red zone" recommendations, check out The 8 Things You Need to Do If You Live in a "Red Zone," White House Says.