Virus cases at Arizona school send hundreds into quarantine

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey listens during a round table discussion Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, at the Phoenix International Academy in Phoenix.

PHOENIX -- Arizona’s covid-19 infection rate is creeping back up again, with one organization predicting a escalating increase in deaths beginning next month if the state imposes no new restrictions.

But don’t look for Gov. Doug Ducey to do that.

New figures from Rt live, an organization that tracks cases on a state-by-state basis, show the effective “reproduction rate’’ of the virus here is at 1.14, its highest point since early June.

That figure is how many new cases will result from each person who is infected. The higher the number in positive territory, the faster the virus will spread.

Arizona actually dropped into negative numbers in June after Ducey reversed course and reimposed some of the restrictions he had allowed to expire the month before.

It isn’t just this data that reflects an upward trend in infections.

The state Department of Health Services is reporting an upswing in the past month in the number of patients in intensive-care units of Arizona hospitals who have with covid-like symptoms.

And the outlook unless something changes is not good.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects that the number of daily deaths, which has been on a declining trend since the beginning of August, is likely to start rising again by the end of the month based on current projections. But IHME contends that could be sharply tempered if the state were to impose a universal requirement for people to wear masks.

By Christmas, for example, the report says Arizona will have an average of more than 31 deaths a day using current practices. But a statewide requirement for everyone to wear a mask, it says, would cut that to fewer than 15.

Ducey, however, has refused to issue such an order. In fact, until the middle of June he actually forbade local governments from imposing their own mask mandates.

Gubernatorial press aide Patrick Ptak said no one should be alarmed by the figures.

“We’ve been clear that as schools resume and businesses begin operations again, we should expect a rise in cases,’’ he said. And Ptak pointed out that it’s not just Arizona where the virus is experiencing a resurgence.

Steve Elliott, spokesman for the Department of Health Services, acknowledged that the “dashboard’’ of issues his agency monitors, things like cases, deaths and hospital admissions, “has shown an uptick in statewide cases in recent weeks.’’

“It serves as an important reminder that COVID-19 remains active in communities,’’ Elliott said. “And that this is no time to let our guard down.’’

But Ptak said the Ducey administration sees no reason to look at new or renewed restrictions.

He said Arizona is in a much better situation now, with businesses like restaurants that were allowed to reopen now operating at reduced capacity and customers required to wear face masks. Ptak said large gatherings remain prohibited, though that does not apply to political rallies.

And the governor himself has said repeatedly he won’t reimpose any restrictions even if the infection rate goes up.

“Arizona’s economy is open, Arizona’s educational institutions are open, Arizona’s tourism institutions are open,’’ he said three weeks ago. “The expectation is they are going to remain open.’’

As to that rising reproductive rate for the virus, commonly referred to as “R-naught,’’ Elliott said his agency does monitor that statistic. But the decisions being made by the health department are not tied to it, saying that the modeling used by Rt Live is “sensitive to days with high reports of cases or low lab numbers’’ and “may not provide the full picture when comparing to all data.’’

“Our response will be based on an uptick in the metrics on our dashboard,’’ Elliott said, which measures things like new cases, daily deaths and hospital admissions.

But how important those reproduction rate numbers are to the Ducey administration appears to be based on whether they tell the story the governor and his staff want to convey.

On Sept. 1, for example, Ptak tweeted out “BREAKING: Arizona’s r-naught has dropped to being the lowest in the nation again at 0.81.’’

Now Arizona has the tenth highest reproductive rate in the country.

The change in Ducey’s staff publicizing the rising rate did not escape Will Humble, the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. He said the governor wants to use those numbers for PR purposes only when they are low.

“And then it’s like CIA data when it’s 1.2,’’ said Humble, a former state health director.

He said the Rt number isn’t the only thing that matters. Humble said health officials need to look at things like the percent of tests coming back positive, hospitalizations and even the number of visits to emergency rooms of people with COVID-like symptoms.

He said monitoring hospital capacity, as does the health department, simply “shows you where you are.’’

“But the Rt can forecast what might be happening in terms of hospitalizations in the coming days and weeks,’’ Humble said.

That leaves the IHME projections of future deaths, which neither Ptak nor Elliott addressed, which show there would be a marked difference in mortality if Ducey were to impose a mask mandate. Humble said reports like those are crucial as public officials make policy decisions.

“Is saving lives the most important thing or is economic activity, and how do you balance the two?’’ he asked.

0
3
0
0
8

We've made this article available without a subscription as a public service.

Now, more than ever, the world needs trustworthy reporting—but good journalism isn’t free. Please support us by subscribing or contributing today.

(41) comments

Davel2

"People are tired of Covid" People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots"

Donald J Trump... Current Covid deaths in US 220,000... Keep running your mouth

Donald. Let everyone hear what a disgrace you are to the office. The Democrats don't

really have to campaign at all to be rid of you... at least where the intelligent voters are concerned.

deaton

“The Democrats don't really have to campaign at all to be rid of you... “ Thanks Twit, you will be seeing this quote “again” in 2 weeks, Twit or as they say in the UK a “fortnight”! The tale will be told! Cinch up your saddle, it’s going to be quite a ride for the next four years of dismantling 44 and “Making America Great Again” I don’t expect to see much of you, BigBob and the Moron [batman] for awhile after the Election. But I’ll check occasionally to see “what’s up” #Re-Elect45! [thumbup][tongue][beam][love] Deaton

Davel2

deaton... Let me put this in a way you will understand. If Trump wins all it will mean

is that there are more stupid people in America than smart ones. Be sure to quote me

on that.

simon1dog

I beg your pardon, but I believe i was the first to see this coming. It appears my "ides" forecast on such have been accidentally or intentionally deleted.

BigBob

Nope, you have never said "beware of the ides" of anything. As a point in fact I was the first one to use that term following the first gene pool cleansing boat parade.

deaton

Ok BigBob, since it’s so important to you, “I was the first one to use that term following the first gene pool cleansing boat parade” you can say you were the first! Jezzz, you need to grow up, after all your 77 years old, don’t you think it’s time? What’a gasbag! [thumbup][tongue][love] Deaton

IcePick

Simon1. [beam][thumbup]

BigBob

Look at that! One liar thumbs up another liar!

IcePick

b-bOb. So now I see why you are so confused. Below is your nonsense with a https link referencing from "The Jerusalem Post". Are you just mentally challenged? You cant find the "USC study? You want me to provide a link. LMAO. How about you start looking here, I expect a full report by 3am PT. https://www.aljazeera.net

Let’s look at what was actually said – “The study, conducted in July, found that over 70% of the 154 ‘case-patients,’ (that would be 108 people) who had tested positive for COVID-19, were infected despite making efforts to abide by CDC guidelines, including the wearing of face masks.” Out of the more than 120,000 Americans dead of the trump virus a study of “154 case patients” is not statistically significant. And the study concluded, “Despite this, face masks are still shown to be the most effective means of slowing the spread of the virus, and medical bodies worldwide recommend wearing them and maintaining social distancing measures.” https://www.jpost.com/health-science/coronavirus-patients-can-contract-virus-despite-wearing-face-masks-cdc-645685

Could you provide a link to the "USC" study, I can't find it.

BigBob

Who is "b-bOb?"

simon1dog

As I've been saying for the last 6 months, "Beware the ides of June, July, August, September, October, November, December, and January."

BigBob

Why do you lie? You have NEVER made any such comment!

IcePick

Road Traffic Injuries & Deaths: A Global Problem | CDC

Each year, 1.35 million people are killed on roadways around the world. Every day, almost 3,700 people are killed globally in road traffic crashes involving cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, or pedestrians. More than half of those killed are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists.

BigBob

How curious, but means nothing compared to the 1,000+ Americans who are dying from the trump virus each and every day - more than 70% of those deaths could have been avoided had Typhoid Donny not lied to us and actually down something to protect the American people.

IcePick

Oh Bob its real hard for you isn't it. CDC says 70% of hole with covid faithfully wear their mask and still got it. USC just finished a study the positive rate is off 49-73%. With that being said that plummets the death rate to .07% or lower.

The Democrat Fear Flu

Joe Nobody

Did anyone ever say that wearing a mask will stop someone from contracting the virus? Wearing a mask stops you from spreading it! When the CDC numbers were sky high, were you saying that they're BS numbers?

BigBob

What are "...70% of hole with covid...?

Let’s look at what was actually said – “The study, conducted in July, found that over 70% of the 154 ‘case-patients,’ (that would be 108 people) who had tested positive for COVID-19, were infected despite making efforts to abide by CDC guidelines, including the wearing of face masks.” Out of the more than 120,000 Americans dead of the trump virus a study of “154 case patients” is not statistically significant. And the study concluded, “Despite this, face masks are still shown to be the most effective means of slowing the spread of the virus, and medical bodies worldwide recommend wearing them and maintaining social distancing measures.” https://www.jpost.com/health-science/coronavirus-patients-can-contract-virus-despite-wearing-face-masks-cdc-645685

Could you provide a link to the "USC" study, I can't find it.

CVA-42

Big Bozo pulling numbers out of his a$$, yet again. 'more than 70% of those deaths could have been avoided had Typhoid Donny not lied ' Show us the source of your ridiculous statement. You always lie, all of the time you lie., about everything.

Fix your Easter Egg.

BigBob

Who is "Big Bozo?" However, I will be glad to provide the information for you - 11 May 2020 - Researchers at Columbia University estimated about 36,000 lives in the United States could have been saved from the coronavirus had masks, social distancing and other restrictions been put in place a week earlier in March. That figure has been upped to more than 82,000 and 70% as of September. “Disease modelers at Columbia University said in a study released Wednesday that 61.6% of deaths and 55% of infections nationwide could have been avoided if preventative measures in place on March 15 had been enacted a week earlier.” https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/study-finds-earlier-coronavirus-restrictions-us-saved-36k/story?id=70808611

I will now accept your apology for "Big Bozo."

CVA-42

What else would you expect. A liberal study, from a liberal college and published by a liberal (ABC news) site. There are no facts, just estimates and assumptions, like a lot of Big Bozo's attempt at facts.

As far as an apology. I don't apologize to anyone for anything if that person can't do the same.

deaton

The only thing worse then the “Covid-19” virus would be the “Biden-20” pandemic! Protect your family, friends and yourself! Vote Trump/Pence on November 3rd #Re-Elect45! [thumbup][wink][beam] Deaton

simon1dog

As I've been saying for the last 6 months, "Beware the ides of November, December, and January."

BigBob

No, you have never made any such comment. Why do insist upon supporting idiots and lying - all of the time - about everything?

Joe Nobody

I guess I got burned out, or something? Are there still daily briefings from Ducey / Christ / Sunnenshine?

azbeancounter

Guess it's time to ramp up the fears again. Way too many people are starting to live their lives almost normally. Maskless and unafraid.

BigBob

I guess it's time for intelligent people to "mask up" because our nation is number one in trump virus cases. To be "maskless and unafraid" is a good way to become a statistic.

IcePick

CDC says 70% of infected people said they always wear a mask when out of their home.. Now What? Tears and Fears. Its coming for you boBBy be ready Wait for it!

BigBob

Who is "boBBy?" And here is what the CDC reported - Let’s look at what was actually said – “The study, conducted in July, found that over 70% of the 154 ‘case-patients,’ (that would be 108 people) who had tested positive for COVID-19, were infected despite making efforts to abide by CDC guidelines, including the wearing of face masks.” Out of the more than 120,000 Americans dead of the trump virus a study of “154 case patients” is not statistically significant. And the study concluded, “Despite this, face masks are still shown to be the most effective means of slowing the spread of the virus, and medical bodies worldwide recommend wearing them and maintaining social distancing measures.” https://www.jpost.com/health-science/coronavirus-patients-can-contract-virus-despite-wearing-face-masks-cdc-645685

Davel2

azbeancounter... Yes it is time to ramp up the fear as you call it. You were warned by reputable doctors and scientist, but instead preferred to listen to Republican Politicians whose only concern was the economy and budgets. The same Republican Politicians who can't pass a "clean" stimulus bill to help small business and the unemployed. Everything their way or no way as usual. Money before life and they claim to be the party of God. To think we might be headed back to where we were, possibly even worse, partly because of the resistance of some to simply wearing a mask. Do you think you might want to try doing it the "other way" this time, or has the number of dead and those who will suffer the rest of their lives with health conditions due to Covid still not registering with you? Their is fearless and than there is just plain ignorant and inconsiderate. Think about it.

deaton

“Do you think you might want to try doing it the "other way" this time,” Nope Twit, that thought never crossed my mind. Is this your new “strategy” if we can’t convince them we’ll scare them into voting for “Corruption Joe”? Ain’t happening Twit, I’ll be “first in line” to cast my ballot for our President, Donald J Trump! #Re-Elect45! [thumbup][beam][tongue] Deaton

Davel2

deaton... You are such a predictable pain in the a**. Foolishly vote for Trump, just wear your mask when you do it.

deaton

“You are such a predictable pain in the a**.” Thanks for the recognition Twit, I try hard to be exactly that! However, if you’re still experiencing pain, might I suggest “Preparation-H” in the suppository form, it reduces “itching” #Re-Elect45! [thumbup][huh][ohmy] Deaton

IcePick

Davel-2 Tears and Fears you're just full of it!

Davel2

IcePick... Stop defending what has been a total lack of leadership. Just wear your mask, protect yourself and others. Besides if something happens to the few you like to argue with on here, you're going to feel very lonely.

BigBob

As usual you cannot actually disprove what has been said, you just attack and insult. Disgusting.

kdavis

Are these the same reputable doctors and scientists that will be expert witnesses for either side at trials as long as they are getting paid their expert witness fee??? Their opinions are always up for sale......

BigBob

But, didn't Typhoid Donny tell us just this week that "nobody gets it anymore?" Oh well, what the heck - time for another boat parade!

shutthefrontdoor

"Arizona continues to see a slow yet steady increase in the average number of coronavirus cases reported each day as a decline that lasted through August and September reverses." All you anti mask, social distance, festive morons, get ready, keep flouting your immunity and placing others in harms way, the worst is yet to come!

RESIST

Any bets on how long Ducey and Sheehy will spin around deciding if they will protect Arizonans or follow trump in the herd mentality! All you mask naysayers and loud "open everything up" people, line up to be the first ones to go!

shutthefrontdoor

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

deaton

Yup, RESIST on November 3rd I’ll “line up to be the first one to” vote for President Trump! Now on November 4th your worst nightmare begins! #Re-Elect45! [thumbup][beam][tongue] Deaton

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.