Friday, six Valley doctors stood outside the Maricopa County Medical Society's offices to express disappointment and fear.
Their comments come after an executive order issued by Governor Doug Ducey Thursday lifting COVID-19 restrictions across the state and leaving local mask mandates unenforceable.
“I would like to ask Governor Ducey some questions starting with why have we not learned from last year‘s mistakes?" asked Dr. Lee Ann Kelly. “If they say they’re following the science; I’d like to see the data. I don’t think it’s out there."
With only about 17% of Arizonans fully vaccinated, and 24% having received their first dose, several members of the county's medical society say they're worried ignoring safety protocols that have helped mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona will lead to another surge.
"It gives people the false opinion that the pandemic is over, and it's nowhere near over," added Dr. Kelly.
“We’ve lost over half a million people in our country alone," said Dr. John Prater, President of the Maricopa County Medical Society. "It’s true that things are looking better the past 10 weeks, which is all the more reason we should keep doing what we’re doing.”
Friday, the Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed they've detected a new strain of COVID-19 in our state, commonly known as the "South Africa Strain". Many physicians say the mutation of the COVID-19 virus is another reason why following safety guidelines continues to be important.
“The more we can keep them contained into a few people, it will die off it will stop with that person," said Dr. Michael Manning.
Many urge even without state mandates, Arizonan's practice personal responsibility to continue improving, as more and more men and women work to get vaccinated.
“I’ll still go to the hospital," added Dr. Manning. "I’ll still take care of you if you get sick, I just rather you not.”
Watch the full press conference with local medical workers speaking out below.