WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation's governors told President Joe Biden Monday it's time to move away from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We asked the President to help give us clear guidelines on how we can return to a greater state of normality," Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, chairman of the National Governors Association said.
During his opening statement to the governors, President Biden said he was committed to getting the country back on track. "We're going to try like the devil to keep schools open," the President said.
Governor Ducey attended the meeting, but he is not sure the President is ready to move on from COVID-19. "They seem to be continually focused on masks versus what we're focused on in Arizona, math and getting back to normal," Gov. Ducey said.
Ducey is suing the Biden Administration over the rules it attached to COVID-19 relief funds for public education. The governor wants to prioritize schools and school districts which do not require students and teachers to wear masks. The Biden Administration says the state can't do that.
"We want Washington D.C. to stop helping us. We're just fine on our own," Gov. Ducey said.
It's been a year since Ducey ended mask mandates in Arizona.
The City of Tucson and some school districts still require them, but most businesses across the state can do as they wish.
Much to the dismay of Pima County Supervisor and physician Matt Heinz. "We've got to decide as a human population that we truly want to end or least address the pandemic and it's been incredibly disappointing so far," Dr. Heinz said.
Dr. Heinz is a critic of Governor Ducey's COVID strategy. He is also a hospitalist at Tucson Medical Center where a third of the ICU beds are dedicated to COVID patients.
"You're going to get a bed if you stop breathing from COVID and come into the hospital, but you are also pushing someone else out of that ICU bed."
As we enter the third year of the pandemic many of the nation's governors appear to want to follow Arizona's path. "You get 50 different Governors, you get 50 different opinions," Governor Ducey said, "but there was a lot of consensus on moving forward and the President taking action."