This State Is Locking Down Again for 30 Days as COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket
The governor of Arizona has ordered all bars, gyms, and movie theaters to close for at least 30 days.
As states around the country report sharp increases in COVID-19 cases, many public officials are pausing their reopening plans to help control the outbreaks. But for some areas, medical experts warn that simply pressing pause won't be enough to stop the virus from spreading—forcing certain states to actually roll back on reopening. In fact, Arizona is now locking down again for 30 days amid reports that the state "lost control of the epidemic."
On June 29, Gov. Doug Ducey ordered gyms, bars, movie theaters, and water parks to all shutter once again for at least 30 days shortly after new COVID-19 cases exceeded 3,000 for the seventh time in 10 days, NPR reported. This includes Arizona's single-day record of 3,800 new cases.
"Our numbers continue to increase," Ducey told reporters at a press conference on Monday. "Our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse," he added, calling Arizona's COVID-19 situation "brutal."
The new order also pushed back the reopening of public schools until August 17 and prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people. But while the governor advocated for the wearing of face masks by everyone in public, he stopped short of legally mandating them.
Ducey said that "Arizonans have been, by and large, terrific, fantastic and responsible," but that he had been troubled by photos and videos posted on social media that showed crowded bars, restaurants, and public places. In an about-face from previous statements, Ducey urged residents not to leave their houses, saying, "Remember, you are safer at home. If you do not need to go out, do not go out."
Arizona began its initial reopening in mid-May. But many experts have argued that it was too early, despite the state's initial low number of cases. "In many parts in the U.S., you saw closings too soon and too long," former CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, told PBS NewsHour, citing Arizona as one of those states. "Then they opened just as it's increasing. And, again, opening when it's increasing is just asking to get hit hard. So it's no surprise that you're seeing these big increases."
For his part, Ducey was cautious when speaking of the effectiveness of Arizona's 30-day lockdown, calling the proposed re-reopening date "aspirational." He admitted it may take even more time to get the pandemic under control, saying, "We're not going back to normal anytime soon." And for more on how other places are faring after reopening, check out These States Ended Lockdown Two Months Ago. Here's How They're Doing.