Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona have surpassed 14K and families continue to lose loved ones to the virus. With some people practicing social distancing and others not, only time will tell the impact.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases are now up to 14,170 in Arizona and 686 deaths, the state health department reported Monday. And despite warnings from experts and concerns from some local businesses on reopening too soon, Arizona continued operations this weekend after Gov. Doug Ducey lifted restrictions on the state’s stay-at-home order.
The Copper Courier visited a few places open for business in the Phoenix Valley, Tucson, and Flagstaff to see how well people followed social distancing guidelines. While some practiced safety measures with masks and social distancing, others didn’t seem fazed by the continuous threat of coronavirus spread.
Recently, Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, told Copper Courier how Arizonans behave will determine if the state will turn into a hotspot for new cases. If guidelines aren’t followed, he said, the percentage of positive tests and number of hospitalizations in the state will go up.
So how is Arizona doing thus far, and how will behaviors affect COVID-19 cases going forward?
Here’s what we found.
Some retailers in the Valley are happy to be open, but business is not as usual. While many restaurants, public lakes, and rivers – including the Salt River and Saguaro Lake – had an influx of people, retail stores in the valley appeared to only see a small number of people come through their doors.
Some people practiced social distancing and wore masks, but many did not – despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As Salt River tubing resumed this weekend, Arizonans grouped together in long lines to get into the park, and piled into buses for transport. Some had masks, while others did not.
The Arizona Republic highlighted photos from opening day, and on Sunday, Saguaro Lake and the Salt River recreation areas were completely full with people parking along the main roads to try and get in. Some people left in disappointment as they were forced to turn around because the lake was at full capacity.
In Tucson, like the Valley, some streets and businesses saw little action, while others had patrons who both practiced safety and those who didn’t.
This Tiki head with its hanging mask is indicative of the COVID-19 political divide and behaviors on safety in the state and across the nation.
Flagstaff, as in the other two cities, also had social distancing measures put in place for visitors to see. And while some followed the rules, others did not.
With businesses now resuming and after this weekend, the question becomes now, how will the state and nation’s political divide on COVID-19 continue to impact cases and deaths?
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