This One State Should "Be Concerned" About COVID, Doctor Warns

A new spike in cases is hitting the state differently than previous waves of the virus.

The national decline in COVID cases has many confident that the end of the pandemic is within reach. But even as infection numbers finally begin to fall, some places are struggling with a new wave of cases that is troubling health officials. Now, a doctor is warning that one state, in particular, should "be concerned" about COVID as it's starting to see a new type of surge. Read on to find out which place is faced with a dire situation, and for more on how to stay safe, The CDC Says If You See This at a Restaurant, Don't Go Inside.

A local doctor warns that Arizona should "be concerned" about recent COVID cases.

a blue "Arizona" sign off of the highway and in front of the Grand Canyon
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After recovering from record high case numbers that put it among the top in the nation per capita at separate points during the pandemic, Arizona is beginning to see infections rise once again. But according to one local doctor, the most recent surge of cases in the state is different: Now, young adults and children are falling seriously ill.

"There are so many different things happening all at one time, at the same time, it's hard to tease out what's going on," said Heather Ross, PhD, a clinical assistant professor at Arizona State University's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, told local Phoenix affiliate CBS 5. "We should all be concerned about the numbers going up."

Arizona is seeing a surge in COVID cases as national numbers decline.

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Unfortunately, Arizona appears to be taking a turn for the worse just as the national pandemic trajectory continues to show signs of improvement. While national figures have seen a 26 percent decline in the past two weeks, the state has seen a 19 percent increase in daily new reported cases over the past 14 days, bringing its rate to 10 per 100,000, according to data from The New York Times, as of May 4.

But while the current spike still places Arizona below the national average of 15 cases per 100,000 people, a surge in pediatric cases makes the state an unfortunate outlier. According to data by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Arizona is one of 16 states with more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases among children and one of only 10 states with more than 7,000 cases per 100,000 kids. The state also currently ranks second behind Texas in the number of child deaths from the virus, CBS 5 reports. And for more on when the pandemic may finally wind down, America Will "Feel Close to Normal" by This Exact Date, COVID Expert Says.

Health officials say there has been a decrease in deaths but an increase in severe COVID cases.

Doctors and Nurses Taking Care of COVID Patients in ICU
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According to local officials, the current surge of cases in Arizona is likely the result of several factors, including a wave of travelers to the state and the rise of the highly contagious B.1.1.7. variant that originated in the U.K., The Times reports. But now that most older, vulnerable Arizonans have been vaccinated, it's suddenly young and middle-aged people who have become the most at-risk demographic for contracting the virus.

"We're not going to experience the type of lethal experiences that we would have in December, January, or February," Will Humble, the former state health director who now heads the Arizona Public Health Association, told The Times. But still, he noted that recent cases had brought "a notable upward movement in general ward beds and also I.C.U."

State officials removed all public COVID safety measures in March.

Young man and woman drinking beer and hitting it off at a bar
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Even as case numbers begin to go up again, officials fear there is little that anyone can do to stem the rise. In March, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order removing all COVID-19 related health measures and restrictions in the state. The order also barred local governments from instituting mask mandates of their own.

"There's no mitigation at all here, and there hasn't been for months," Humble told The Times. And for more on specific spots you should be avoiding, The CDC Says These Are the "Least Safe" Places You're Going Right Now.

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Zachary Mack
Zachary covers beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He's the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in New York City and is a Certified Cicerone. Read more
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