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Once the epicenter of COVID-19, Arizona broke free

For months, Arizona has excelled as one of the worst coronavirus hotspots in the world, suffering from an outbreak that has disgusted hundreds of thousands of people. The hospitals were so impressed that the Ministry of Health adopted crisis standards of care in preparation for the increase in capacity.

Now, however, cases have spread after big cities have introduced new restrictions and blockages. Bars, theaters, and gyms in Maricopa County, county, began reopening on Thursday as the number of new confirmed cases dropped to less than a sixth of the zenith in early July.

Arizona is an example of how much a coronavirus can destroy a region – and how aggressive action can bend the case curve down.

“Arizonans [are] we are really following the mitigation measures that we have put in place, “said Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

When the virus spread out of control in New York in late March and early April, Arizona confronted only a few cases. By the end of the month, only 24 people had died.

The state did not report more than 1

,000 new cases in a single day by June 2.

This slow construction gave some residents a false sense of security. Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyOnce as the epicenter of COVID-19, Arizona emerges from blocking US faces long way to COVID-19 amid signs of improvement McSally tells supporters to ‘eat fast’ and donate her campaign MORE (R) allowed the first closed companies to reopen on May 8, and his order to stay at home ended on May 15, long before orders in many other states. Arizona has also prevented local governments from enforcing regulations to make residents wear face masks.

“Everyone wanted to get back to normal, but it wasn’t safe,” the mayor of Phoenix said Kate GallegoKate GallegoOnce epicenter COVID-19, Arizona emerges from lockout Congress should move immediately to devise a comprehensive act of restoration, Mayor Phoenix urges governor to issue nationwide ban on masks, shut down some businesses MORE (D) said in an interview.

As summer temperatures climbed to three-digit numbers, which drove the Arizona people into the interior, the number of cases jumped sharply. Two weeks after the first day of the state with 1,000 cases, Arizona recorded 2,000 cases in one 24-hour span. Four days later, it hit 3,100 cases a day. On the last day of June, almost 4,800 people were positive.

“What’s really different about Arizona is the time we’ve started to see an increase in cases, at a time when it’s really hot,” Christ said. “In the summer, everyone is inside in the air conditioner, and in the winter we can go outside and be physically distant.”

The reproduction rate, the number of new infections caused by the average case of coronaviruses, peaked at 2.65 in May, according to PolicyLab estimates at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In contrast, reproduction rates in five boroughs of New York never increased the estimated 1.6.

The leading nurses and doctors, who worked all day continuously for months, reached out to the turning points. Hospitals had to give preference to who was to be treated, and personal protective equipment was available.

“July was scary.” We were in crisis standards of care, “said Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. “If you got sick in July, quite honestly, you probably didn’t get the level of care you expect.”

Much of the spread was caused by younger people who mistakenly thought they were invulnerable to the virus, which causes the worst myths in the elderly and people with underlying diseases. About half of the cases were diagnosed in people aged 20 to 44, Christ said.

Gallego, who is 38 years old, said she spent a lot of time addressing her colleagues.

“People in our 1930s have a key role to play in slowing this spread. There has been a rumor that only older adults have to worry about this. This is not the case, “she said.

Under pressure from city and county governments on June 17, Ducey removed restrictions on requirements for local face masks. In one day, most of Arizona’s major cities introduced mandates. One week later, Ducey ordered the closure of bars, nightclubs, gyms, theaters and tubing companies.

“Masks can’t fix everything, but they really save lives.” It was frustrating for city councils and mayors that they did not have this tool, but I am glad that the governor changed his mind, “Gallego said. The masks are “a physical reminder that we are still struggling with COVID and you cannot go back to life as you did in 2019.”

Ducey has not implemented a nationwide camouflage mandate, as in 25 states and Columbia County. But about 85 percent of Arizona’s population lives in the city or county that has it. Research from Arizona State University suggests that masks can reduce transmission by about 35 percent.

“Although the state-level mandate may have been more effective, I sometimes wonder if decentralization and the ability to tailor the mandate to the specific needs of the community could lead to more mask buying and adoption,” said Kacey Ernst, who runs the epidemiology program at Zuckerman College of Public Health in Arizona. “I was amazed at the sharp increase in the use of the mask that I personally witnessed.”

The daily number of cases peaked on 11 July and the number of people in hospitals and intensive care units peaked a few days later.

Since then, all three indicators have been steadily declining. Arizona has reported less than 1,000 new cases in each of the last 15 days. Less than 900 Arizonaans are in hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and only 311 are in the intensive care unit. According to state data analyzed in the COVID Tracking Project, an independent team of researchers.

“It takes time to cover your face. It’s not like it changes things overnight, “Humble said. “Once people get over the bump and get used to wearing face masks in public, it becomes a habit.”

The number of cases in the eight districts has been reduced enough to allow reopening of enterprises, albeit with limited capacity.

“It’s possible that the steady decline that we’ve had levels is starting to stabilize at a low level, or it could be that cases are starting to tick,” Humble said. “That’s a great experiment.” And I’m fine with that. You can’t stay locked up forever. “

Public health experts and elected officials say they expect a slight increase in the number of cases where businesses reopen, when schools return, and when the flu season begins.

“Public health officials take very serious warnings that this decline could be a difficult period, with the flu season at the peak of COVID-19. I know that everyone wants to return to the way life used to be, but our economy will return faster if we take public health seriously, “said Gallego. “Many people will not choose to participate in the economy as they were before the vaccine is available.”

However, if Arizona people continue to use their masks, the positive trajectory of the state should continue to improve. PolicyLab models estimate that Maricopa will suffer from about 240 new infections a day in the next four weeks, in about fifteen cases that occurred at the time of the outbreak, and at a low enough level to prevent hospital overruns.

“I would not recommend abolishing the mask’s mandate now,” Christ said. “We can’t let it go.” We must continue to wear masks. “

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