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Valley medical expert warns of long winter amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 10:11 PM, Dec 05, 2021

PHOENIX — The pandemic’s latest surge maintains a grip on the state.

Arizona health officials reported 3,820 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 28 more deaths on Sunday.

These latest numbers push Arizona's totals to 1,292,054 cases and 22,589 known deaths since the pandemic began.

ABC15’s Health Insider, Dr. Shad Marvasti, says this may be the beginning of a very long winter.

“It’s only going to get worse before it gets better,” he added.

Dr. Marvasti says this new surge isn’t surprising at all.

“It's predictable and preventable. It didn’t have to be this way, and it doesn’t have to continue this way. The moment we get everyone vaccinated, get some mask requirements in place, get some travel restrictions in place, we’re going to see a decrease in numbers within two to three weeks,” he told ABC15.

Arizona health officials reported 5,236 cases and 14 deaths Friday, with 6,043 cases and 164 additional deaths Saturday.

This marks just the second time Arizona has seen more than 5,000 cases, on two consecutive days, since January's winter surge.

“Any loss of life is an unacceptable one, especially when it can be prevented. And at this point, every life lost to this pandemic is one that can be prevented,” said Dr. Marvasti.

He says, at this time, the rise in cases is already compromising the healthcare system.

“Because of the, you know, high number of patients with COVID, that takes away beds and staff, and nurses, and doctors. This is not a good sign and it’ll probably get to the point where it was last winter,” he added.

Here’s what Dr. Marvasti says is behind the surge:

“People are gathering, and since it’s the holidays, people are traveling from other parts of the country to be in Arizona. We have no kind of testing or vaccine requirements for travel,” said Dr. Marvasti.

The CDC says unvaccinated people are six times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated, and eleven times more likely to die from the virus.

Dr. Marvasti says if more precautions aren’t taken:

“We’re going to lose a lot of lives that we didn’t have to lose,” he told ABC15.

Here’s what the CDC recommends you do to protect yourself, and others, from COVID-19.

  • Get vaccinated
  • Wear a mask
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Monitor your health daily