Arizona saw a record of nearly 5,000 new cases reported Wednesday.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R) said Thursday he wants the White House to disband its COVID-19 Task Force, despite his home state seeing record case numbers.
Despite the surge of cases in Arizona, Biggs has mirrored President Donald Trump’s desire to boost the economy above all else.
“As our economy is restored, it is imperative that President Trump is not undermined in his mission to return our economy to greatness,” Biggs wrote in a statement. “Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx continue to contradict many of President Trump’s stated goals and actions for returning to normalcy as we know more about the COVID-19 outbreak.”
But experts disagree. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress this week that the country could soon see 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day.
But instead of doubling down on intervention, Biggs brushed off the warning as “causing panic.”
“It’s time for the COVID-19 task force to be disbanded so that President Trump’s message is not mitigated or distorted,” the congressman wrote.
He attended the president’s rally in Phoenix last week, where mask-wearing was scarce, despite health officials pleading with the public to wear them.
One week after the rally, Arizona reported more than 4,600 new cases Wednesday, the most the state has seen in a single day.
While only about 3,000 new cases were reported Thursday, hospitalizations, ventilator usage, ICU bed usage, and virus-related emergency room visits all broke records.
Downplaying the Pandemic
Biggs has consistently downplayed the pandemic while health experts have been raising increasingly urgent alar
Just this week, a coalition of top scientists, including several from Harvard and Johns Hopkins universities, said it was “necessary” for Arizona and Florida to reinstate stay-at-home orders due to their out-of-control numbers.
Biggs argued that Arizona’s percentage of cases hospitalized has fallen, meaning the virus isn’t as severe as people have made it out to be.
But because of the state’s large increases in total cases, hospitals are still running out of room, manpower, and other resources to be able to treat those who do fall ill.
The state has authorized “crisis standards of care,” which are guidelines that tell doctors which patients should receive care and supplies if there is a shortage.
If there are more patients than can be cared for at ideal levels, patients are given a score based on their life expectancy and the likelihood their organs will fail. Hospitals are told not to consider factors like race, gender, sexual orientation or disabilities.
The state asked hospitals last month to “fully activate,” meaning once again postponing elective surgeries and preparing more beds.
Biggs has also spread dubious information about the virus on his Facebook page, where he has broadcast talks with discredited figures.
One of his guests was Aaron Ginn, co-founder of an advocacy group called the Lincoln Network.
Ginn published a blog post arguing that concerns over COVID-19 were just “hysteria.” Medium removed the article within 32 hours for promoting misinformation.
Biggs also spoke with Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, two California urgent care doctors who posted a YouTube video that stated stay-at-home orders were unnecessary. Their video was widely discredited and removed from the platform.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.