Dr. Fauci Says This Is Why Coronavirus Cases Are Dropping in Arizona
The state has seen a major reversal in its COVID-19 situation after implementing a few rules.
For weeks, Arizona found itself in one of the worst positions in the country in regards to coronavirus, with spiking cases, overloaded hospitals, and a mounting death toll. But the past month has seen what appears to be a reversal of fortune for the state, with numbers continuing to fall with each passing day. So, how were officials able to take a dire situation and turn it around? According to Anthony Fauci, MD, there's a good reason why coronavirus cases are dropping in Arizona—and it has to do with following a few simple rules.
In an interview with CNN on August 6, Fauci praised officials in the Grand Canyon State for their ability to implement effective health guidelines, including rolling back on reopening businesses, banning large gatherings, and some cities mandating masks. "We saw in Arizona, which was a good example, they went up [in cases] and they started to really clamp down and do things right. And the cases came right down," Fauci told CNN.
Fauci also said Arizona's COVID success story was why fellow White House Coronavirus Task Force member Deborah Birx, MD, was using the state's approach as a roadmap for states that are currently seeing a spike in cases. "Now is the time to accelerate the fundamental preventive measures we all talk about: masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, outdoors greater than indoors," Fauci said.
The move to tighten restrictions came on June 29 after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey saw cases in the state jump from 20,129 on June 1 to 79,228 by the end of the month. "We did take some further steps," Ducey said after an August 5 meeting with President Donald Trump. "We were in the unhappy but responsible position of dispersing large crowds, so bars and nightclubs and gyms all closed temporarily. But upon putting those steps out there, we've seen improvement every week, week-over-week for four weeks."
After pausing Arizona's reopening plans and even shutting down some businesses again at the end of June, the state saw its COVID surge peak on July 1 and then steadily come down, The Washington Post reports. By the beginning of August, Arizona's seven-day average dropped to just below 2,000 new cases.
According to Covid Act Now, on average, each person in Arizona with COVID is infecting 0.86 other people. That indicates just how much the total number of coronavirus cases in Arizona is shrinking.
But officials know the state isn't quite off the hook yet. "No celebration, no victory lap," Ducey said. "We're going to stay the course, stay vigilant, and keep our guard up. But we have a path forward in Arizona." And for more on what's in store in your neck of the woods, check out Here's When Your State Will Have to Shut Down Again, New Research Shows.