Mayor Gallego Criticizes Federal Government's Assistance With Coronavirus Pandemic In Phoenix

By Katie Campbell, Lauren Gilger, Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 1:19pm

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Kate Gallego
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Kate Gallego in 2019.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has been critical in recent days of the federal government for not helping the city manage the pandemic — as far as she sees it — a criticism that caught the attention of the White House Coronavirus Task Force during a press conference July 8.

Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health, said that Phoenix is a priority.

"It really pains me when somebody says the federal government isn’t doing anything, when we have 41 federal sites there," Giroir said. "We’re sending supplies, we’re sending tests.  And we work with the governor every day.  And if there’s an appropriate request and it’s on the list for Dr. Birx, which it was, we will send a surge site.  And that’s what we’re doing; we’re contracting that this afternoon."

As of July 9, Arizona has recorded more than 112,000 infections and more than 2,000 deaths. The state Department of Health Services is reporting 75 more Arizonans have died from the virus, and another 4,057 new cases were added to the tally.

Yet Dr. Deborah Birx, also a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said she is starting to see some encouraging signs here.

“Arizona does have three counties that we’re tracking very closely, obviously you know the largest one being Phoenix and Maricopa County. But this does show that blue line which is a seven-day average, the seven-day average is showing some flattening,” Birx said.

Arizona’s weekly percent positive rate has been rising — that despite experts’ continued warnings that the state is still not casting a wide enough net when it comes to testing.

The Show spoke with Mayor Gallego not long after she’d been mentioned during the task force press conference — and she noted that was a first for her.

The Show asked for her perspective on testing and what the White House has told her about why Phoenix hasn’t been a priority.

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