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Arizona Virus Trends Improve, But Potential For Rebound Is Still There

Published: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 1:42pm
Updated: Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 9:14am
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Arizona is no longer the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, but data trackers warn caution is still warranted in our state. 

Data analysis from Covid Exit Strategy shows Arizona has the potential for a virus rebound. As of Wednesday, the COVID-19 trend tracking site categorized Arizona as “trending poorly.”

But Arizona is no longer seeing uncontrolled spread, said Marta Wosinska, with Covid Exit Strategy and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.

“Historically the South and the West — so basically the Sun Belt states — were hit really hard, and then the spread has really shifted toward the Midwest," Wosinska said in a call with reporters Wednesday. 

Covid Exit Strategy data show Arizona’s test positivity rate has flattened and the number of new cases per million residents is lower than the national average. As of Wednesday, Covid Exit Strategy showed 62 cases per million residents in Arizona and 112 cases per million for the nation as a whole. But the analysis suggests Arizona is still not testing widely enough. The site also suggests the rate of spread in the state is too high to make contact tracing efforts effective. 

As of Wednesday, COVID-19 cases had not spiked following Labor Day weekend, but Dr. Joshua LaBaer of the Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute is still on guard.

“Our fingers are all crossed. Right now the numbers don’t seem to be spiking yet in Arizona. They’re kind of hanging in that 500-new-cases-a-day range. If that stays the same despite the opening of these new businesses, that’s a good sign," LaBaer said at a press conference.

LaBaer also says it took about two weeks after the Memorial Day weekend to see a huge spike that then led to a “rough” summer. He says by next week, there should be a clear picture as to whether the state will repeat history.

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