Arizona COVID-19 Cases Are Increasing Slightly, But Vaccinations Are Helping
COVID-19 infections are on the rise in several states. Now, Arizona’s progress against the virus appears to be slowing, too.
“The last several days in a row now, there’s been a slight, but nonetheless measurable rise in new case numbers, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that,” Dr. Josh LaBaer with ASU's Biodesign Institute said Wednesday in a call with reporters.
Two weeks ago, Arizona was averaging about 500 COVID-19 infections per day, according to Biodesign Institute data. The average is now about 630 per day. LaBaer said the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant, first spotted in the U.K., is continuing its exponential growth in Arizona. The mutation has appeared in about half the samples the lab has recently collected. A month ago, the variant was appearing in fewer than 20% of samples.
But LaBaer said Arizona’s vaccination efforts are certainly helping to prevent serious infections and deaths as the virus spreads.
“By the end of this month, our modeling team is projecting that more than 1,000 lives will be saved by vaccinations that have gone on here," LaBaer said.
About one in three Arizonans has now had at least one dose of a vaccine. LaBaer said masking, physical distancing and other mitigation measures will still be critical until more of the population has been immunized.