Sunday, June 14, 2020

'We are not going to be able to stop the spread, and so we can’t stop living, as well'.

How about dying?

That quote is from State Health Director Cara Christ clarifying the cavalier attitude of AZ as the number of cases continues to rise. Another 261 cases were reported for yesterday.

Tim Steller’s opinion: Action needed against Arizona’s COVID surge, not ‘misinformation’. The problem is the surge in cases, not the media reporting on it.

You might have heard about the COVID–19 emergency in Arizona that the governor’s office acted against last week.

I don’t mean the emergency of surging coronavirus cases.

No, I’m talking about the emergency of “misinformation.” A “false narrative” was at work, you see, so Gov. Doug Ducey and his staff worked hard in a press conference Thursday and via social media to address that emergency.

For around two weeks, cases of COVID–19 have been increasing fast in Arizona, according to the state’s own data, with the upward curve turning toward exponential growth. Cases have been rising faster in Arizona than almost anywhere else in the country. Hospitals have reported they are growing fuller, with the state’s largest system, Banner, sounding the alarm June 5 that the intensive care units at its sites were nearing capacity.

After in-state news outlets like the Star and the Arizona Republic started reporting on this worrisome trend, national news outlets picked up the story, too. ABC. NBC, CBS, CNN and others all pointed to Arizona as a state where the pandemic is going in a bad direction.

[Scriber:] The last 5 days in May averaged 48.8 new, confirmed cases per day (data from AZ Daily Star). Today, June 14, there were 261 new cases.

Those reports were a real emergency.

So at the press conference, Gov. Ducey emphasized, “There’s been a lot of misinformation out there. It’s important we have the facts straight about hospital capacity in Arizona.”

A reporter asked, “What was the misinformation?” Ducey answered with the correct information:

“We have hospital capacity in the state of Arizona.”

True enough, it appears. For now. Overall, Arizona hospitals were at 83 percent of inpatient capacity late last week. Emergency departments and intensive care units were significantly better than that.

But what about that other emergency — the spike in cases and increase in hospitalizations for COVID–19?

On that, the governor and the state health director, Dr. Cara Christ, did not announce any new action.

In fact, Christ said: “We know that it is in the community. We are not going to be able to stop the spread, and so we can’t stop living, as well.”

Plop. That’s the sound of the Ducey administration throwing in the towel. As Steller reported, Ducey and Christ" didn’t even wear masks symbolically, to model good behavior, when they entered the room.

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