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Is reopening Arizona leading to ‘greater loss of life’ in the state?

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Posted at 10:02 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 23:10:08-04

Is Arizona moving too quickly to open up the state that will lead to ‘a greater loss of life’?

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema made the statement during a Senate Homeland Committee roundtable on Thursday.

“We all want the economy to open as quickly and safely as possible,” she said, “moving too quickly or taking on too much risk will likely lead to a resurgence of the virus, a greater loss of life, and longer-lasting economic harm.”

The senator spoke about how Arizona ranks as the worst state for COVID-19 testing per capita in the nation.

So, what is driving decisions for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey?

ABC15 asked the governor this week if opening too soon would risk lives, “Of course if these worse case scenarios which you want to point out happen, we have options.”

Options meaning there’s capacity, enough personal protective equipment, and hospital beds if another surge comes.

ABC15 spoke with former public health director Will Humble about reopening too soon.

“More people are going to be affected with this virus than if they would have stayed in place, but that doesn’t mean you keep all these interventions in place because of the collateral damage it’s causing in the economy,” he said.

The state’s data, as of May 7, that hospitalizations are still going up with 766 people in a hospital bed.

But with Arizona moving to reopen parts of the state, it’s less about flattening the curve and accepting new cases will come.

Last week in a press conference, the governor was asked about why no data meets the national gating criteria to reopen businesses.

“I’m going to push back on how that question was asked,” said Governor Ducey. “There’s a lot of data.”

The governor went on to say, “lets not reset the goal post in the media.”

Don’t move the goal post he says, but the state moved their way of calculating positive COVID-19 cases by combining diagnostic testing with antibody testing, that gave different calculations to start to reopen Arizona.

The governor’s office said they have had the strategy all along prevent COVID-19, mitigate the spread, and add hospital capacity. They continue to use CDC guidelines to reopen Arizona and following the gating criteria.

“You didn’t hear us come out and say, you know, we’ve met all these criteria, were moving to phase one because there’s things in phase one that he didn’t announce like gyms,” a spokesperson for the governor said.

The governor’s office said they do still want to slow the spread, and that is why they have additional guidance out there for establishments to help promote social distancing.

They went on to say that they are following CDC guidance that is out there for states to follow like others have pointed them to follow.