Arizona Health Official: Masks, Executive Orders Help Stabilize Coronavirus Spread

By Ben Giles, Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 5:28pm
Updated: Friday, July 24, 2020 - 11:22am

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Joshua LaBaer
Arizona State University
Joshua LaBaer

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 2,335 new cases of COVID-19 in our state on July 23, bringing the total number of cases here to almost 153,000.

There were also 89 more related deaths reported. Another grim threshold was broken as the total number of Arizonans who lost their lives to COVID-19 crossed 3,000 on Thursday.

But according to Joshua LaBaer, the executive director of Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, the state's numbers show some signs of hope.

Mask ordinances and recent restrictions on bars and restaurants are working to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to LaBaer.

Recent dips in new daily coronavirus cases and patients being treated for COVID-19 are an encouraging sign that changes in Arizonans behavior have helped stabilize the coronavirus criss in the state.

But LaBaer said slight improvements don’t mean Arizonans can go back to some pre-pandemic behaviors. 

“If we let up now, it'll go right back to what it did before. We'll see a rise again, but now starting from a much higher rate of new cases. So we can't afford that,” he said. “So I would keep this pressure on, I think, for the foreseeable future — the next months anyway.”

Executive orders by Gov. Doug Ducey closed bars, clubs and gyms, among other businesses, for the month of July and restricted restaurants to only use 50% of their available capacity.

The order stipulated that bars, clubs and gyms could reopen as early as July 28, but only if they prove to the Arizona Department of Health Services that they’ll do so in a safe and healthy manner.

Arizona Coronavirus Cases, Deaths

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