Worst COVID-19 Wave Yet Looms Over Thanksgiving Holiday

Published: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 4:57pm
Updated: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 6:36pm
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Arizona State University
Joshua LaBaer

As Arizonans prepare for Thanksgiving, the state faces a coronavirus surge as high as the Fourth of July.

"The rate of rise is increasing in Arizona. That has me worried. It means that we're accelerating on top of our exponential growth, if you will," said Joshua LaBaer, director of Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute.

With Gov. Ducey declining to close bars or issue a statewide mask mandate, experts fear this wave will hit harder.

Summer marks the low season for Arizona hospitals and, even with COVID-19 surging, they could bolster their staffs with traveling health care workers. But December brings heavy hospital demand and, with coronavirus cases swelling nationwide, out-of-state help is hard to come by.

"I think we are up against it now. I think in the next few weeks, hospitals could really start to hit capacity. And I think we have to keep a very close eye on that," said LaBaer.

Thanksgiving gatherings could make matters worse. Canada, which has fewer than one-quarter of the U.S.' cases per capita, saw a 45% rise following its lower-key Thanksgiving in October.

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