Arizona COVID-19 Cases Might Indicate Troubling Trend

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 10:38am
Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 10:56am

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A COVID-19 testing site in Scottsdale
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A COVID-19 testing site in Scottsdale in September 2020.

One week ago, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report praised the success of statewide health measures in reducing COVID-19 cases. Now, Arizona is showing signs of joining a nationwide resurgence.

Joshua LaBaer, executive director of Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, says he's "a little nervous" about the state.

"If you look at our numbers right now, it looks a lot like it did at the beginning of June, and you all know what happened thereafter," LaBaer said. 

What happened was a tidal surge in new cases per day, from around 500 to around 3,700 on average.

Joshua LaBaer
Arizona State University
Joshua LaBaer

It's not certain the state will repeat the summer spike; exponential growth often starts modestly. But LaBaer says now is the time to recommit to the health policies and personal practices that stemmed that tide, especially as holiday gatherings approach.

"We have not leapt into full-on obvious exponential growth, but it is, to my eye at least, looking like we're headed that direction. So now is a good time to look at that and ask, what can we do?" he said. 

He recommends limiting holiday gatherings, wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

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