This Is What Stopped Arizona's Severe Coronavirus Surge, Doctor Says
Experts say that these three things are the reason Arizona's case numbers have started to fall.
As lockdown orders were lifted throughout the United States, coronavirus numbers started rising once again in late June. Some states have notably been hit harder than others, with Arizona in particular emerging as a hotspot for new cases. In fact, Arizona faced a COVID spike that some called "the worst in the entire country;" The New York Times went as far as to say the state had the worst outbreak in the world. As the weeks have passed, however, Arizona's been able to reduce the rate of new infections, seemingly slowing the state's severe coronavirus surge. And according to one expert, that's only been possible because of three things: mask mandates, physical distancing, and re-closings.
"It is certainly better than it was," Joshua LaBaer, MD, executive director of the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute told FOX 10 Phoenix. "We haven't reversed the trends, but I do feel confident in saying we have stabilized at a plateau that is encouraging."
Arizona only had 790 new coronavirus cases on May 30. Only a month later, the state reached a high for new single-day coronavirus cases on June 30 with 5,283 new infections, a surge some attributed to Arizona's early reopening, which began in mid-May. Since mid-July, however, Arizona's numbers have steadily declined; as of July 24, there were just 3,349 new daily infections.
LaBaer said "there is no question" that these cautionary measures—mask mandates, physical distancing, and re-closings—have helped Arizona bring coronavirus numbers down in July. While Gov. Doug Ducey has yet to issue a statewide mask mandate, he has allowed counties and cities to pass their own ordinances, with many of the state's larger cities—including Phoenix and Scottsdale—doing so recently. Ducey has re-closed some major hotspots in the state including gyms, bars, and nightclubs, announcing as of July 23 that those closures would be extended further.
However, Arizona is far from having the epidemic fully under control, LaBaer says. He says the state has "plateaued 10 fold higher numbers per day than when we plateaued months ago." The last time the state plateaued in May, they were only seeing hundreds of cases per day. Now, those daily numbers are in the thousands.
"We need to keep what we are doing in place," says LaBaer. "If we let up now, it will go right where it did before and rise again but starting from a higher rate of new cases." His recommendation? "I would keep the pressure on." And for more good news from the states, check out This Is the Only State Where COVID Cases Have Been Dropping for 2 Weeks.