Some Arizona Doctors Say COVID-19 Restrictions Were Lifted Too Early

Published: Friday, March 12, 2021 - 11:42am

A group of Arizona doctors is speaking out against recent changes to Arizona’s COVID-19 policies. Gov. Doug Ducey last week lifted indoor occupancy limits for most businesses. Arizona doctors with the advocacy group Committee to Protect Medicare say the virus is still spreading in Arizona and could easily surge again.

“We shouldn’t be throwing gasoline on a fire that we’re slowly starting to finally get control of," said Dr. Cadey Harrel, a Tucson family physician, in a call with reporters. "As physicians, we urge Governor Ducey and Arizona legislators to do the right thing and to listen to the science.”

In his announcement about lifting occupancy limits, Ducey urged Arizonans to continue to take personal responsibility in preventing the spread of the virus and required businesses to continue enforcing physical distancing guidelines. But the governor noted new cases in the state are falling as more Arizonans are getting vaccinated.

But the doctors with the Committee to Protect Medicare point out only 20% of Arizonans have had a dose of the vaccine so far. They say herd immunity will require at least 70% to 80% of the population to be vaccinated. They also say many essential workers who would benefit from indoor occupancy limits have not had a chance to get the vaccine yet.

"We must get all essential workers vaccinated and protected," said Dr. Dionne Mills, a Glendale OB/GYN. "It is not enough to say that we respect and honor them, we have to show that in our actions." 

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