Public health experts see signs of a third COVID-19 wave in Arizona

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 13:32:03-04

Public health experts say they are seeing signs of a third COVID-19 wave in Arizona as we are starting to see an exponential growth curve.

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ABC15 data analyst Garrett Archer said COVID-19 cases are rising for the seventh consecutive week. In the next few days, we should see cases doubling every week.

This information coming out as the back-to-school season is underway for school districts across the Valley.

School districts will be unable to mandate any strict mitigation policies like universal mask-wearing after Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill that banned those local decisions.

The bill also stops city and town decision-makers from implementing any mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The delta variant, a more contagious variant, is likely to blame as we saw a big increase in daily reported cases last week on July 14.

RELATED: What you need to know about the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Arizona

Dr. Joe Gerald, a University of Arizona Associate Professor, said the 4th of July may be what has sparked a new third wave.

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why cases took off here around July 14, I think a reasonable explanation is the July 4th holiday, which brought together more people in close circumstances that would normally happen,” he said.

Now with cases rising there’s a lot of questions if state leaders will do anything to slow the spread as cities, towns and school districts are unable to make local decisions.

“We can only hope that the state will reconsider its position particularly as transmission rises here over the coming weeks. I think we're on track for another third large outbreak, the size and duration is unknown because there’s important pieces of information we lack,” said Dr. Gerald.