Arizona Science Desk


Funds, Options For Testing Available As Schools Reopen
Even as delta surges, Arizona law requires schools to resume in-person classes and bars them from mandating masks or vaccinations. But there is some good news, says Will Humble of the Arizona Public Health Association.
Aug. 2, 2021
Detergent Pods: Not As Eco-Friendly As Advertised
Many companies tout the eco-friendliness of their detergent pods. But their dissolvable plastic casings rank as a top wastewater pollutant, and new model-based research suggests most of that plastic makes it into the environment.
Aug. 2, 2021
Beyond COVID Vaccines, mRNA Could Transform Treatments
Although coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer put mRNA in the public spotlight, using messenger RNA in treatments and vaccines isn’t a new idea. Now, with the coronavirus providing the biggest and fastest proof-of-concept in history, the tiny molecule could move from DNA understudy to top bioscience billing.
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Aug. 2, 2021
Coronavirus Cases Climb; Local Health Professionals Urge Vaccines
The Arizona Department of Health Services Sunday added 2,306 confirmed coronavirus infections to its daily dashboard. It’s the second day in a row more than 2,000 new cases have been reported.
Aug. 1, 2021
How Wildfires Make COVID-19 Worse In The West
A research team at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada is connecting the dots between two events plaguing the West: COVID-19 vulnerability and wildfires.
July 30, 2021
New Study More Clearly Links Vision Loss, Cognitive Declines
Scientists have long known that older adults with impaired vision face twice the risk of cognitive decline, the fifth-leading cause of disability among seniors. But the specific types of visual and mental keenness involved remain unclear. A new study brings them into sharper focus.
July 29, 2021
How Shade Is Distributed Unequally In Los Angeles Neighborhoods
Summer heat in the Valley feels never-ending, and there are many Arizonans who can't find shade to cool down. That search is at the core of Alejandra Burunda's piece for National Geographic magazine, "A Shady Divide," which focuses on how shade in L.A. is distributed unequally in neighborhoods. The Show spoke with with Burunda to learn about her findings.
July 29, 2021
AZ Health Director Discusses Decision To Step Down
On July 28, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services — Dr. Cara Christ, who was appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey — announced she would be leaving for a job in the private sector.
July 29, 2021
Drought Persists But Recent Rain Has Impact Across Arizona
The latest drought monitor “shows substantial improvement" in the two most severe drought categories, now reporting 52% of Arizona in either extreme or exceptional drought, down from 84% last week, the National Weather Service office in Phoenix said Thursday.
July 29, 2021
How Can People With Breakthrough COVID Cases Tell If They Have Delta?
On Tuesday, data on the delta variant prompted the CDC to change its mask guidelines: The agency now says fully vaccinated people in areas with substantial or high coronavirus transmission should wear masks in public indoor settings. But how can people with breakthrough cases tell if they have delta?
July 28, 2021
Lake Powell Hitting Record Low Signals Bleak Water Future
We might think of Lake Powell as a great place to spend vacation time, but it's also the nation's second-largest reservoir, and it just reached a new historic low — dropping to 3,555 feet. It's been dwindling for some time, but this latest drop has some broad implications for Arizona's water future.
July 28, 2021
UA Medical Expert: Updated CDC Guidelines A Regression In Tackling COVID-19 Spread
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new set of COVID-19 protocols July 27 as the country faces another surge of viral infections. The Show spoke with Dr. Saskia Popescu to learn if these updated guidelines indicate a step backward in terms of curbing the spread of COVID-19.
July 28, 2021
Sonoran Scientists Start Group For Latin American Women
Women are increasingly finding a space in the historically male-dominated field of environmental conservation. But there are still significant barriers — from harassment and discrimination to language and cultural hurdles some say keep their work in the shadows. Now, a group of scientists in neighboring Sonora, Mexico, are fighting for their place in the profession.
More News From The Fronteras Desk
July 28, 2021
CDC: Even Vaccinated People Should Mask Up Indoors; Masks Recommended For Schools
New data on the delta variant prompted the CDC to recommend that even fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings in areas with substantial or high coronavirus transmission. State health director Dr. Cara Christ says the department's guidelines to the 13 affected counties will echo the CDC's.
More Arizona Coronavirus News
July 27, 2021
With Guaymas At Maximum COVID-19 Risk, San Carlos Beaches To Shut
Cases across Sonora are on the rise, along with hospitalizations. Deaths remain largely flat, likely due to the ongoing vaccination effort.
July 26, 2021
Meteorologist Matt Pace On Valley Rain, 2021 Monsoon
Last year it may have been a "non-soon" season, but our old friend the monsoon is showing up this time around. The Phoenix area saw record rainfall this weekend, with some areas seeing more than 3 inches.
July 26, 2021
Valleywise Health: Rise In Virus Cases Alarming
For an eighth straight day, Arizona health officials are reporting over 1,000 new daily coronavirus cases — 1,441 on July 26. As we’re seeing cases go up, hospitalizations are going up as well.
July 26, 2021
Lake Powell — Nation
The nation’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Powell, is now at its lowest point since it filled in the 1960s. The massive reservoir on the Colorado River hit a new historic low on July 24, dropping below 3,555.1 feet in elevation.
July 26, 2021
Editor-In-Chief Of Science Journals Calls For College Vaccination Mandates
The editor-in-chief of one of the world's premier lines of science journals this week stepped out from behind the desk to call for colleges and universities to require coronavirus vaccines — and to call out Arizona State University by name.
July 23, 2021
AZ COVID-19 Hospitalizations Up; Patients Mostly Unvaccinated
Arizona hospital leaders are increasingly concerned as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase across the state. The number of Arizonans in hospital intensive care units with COVID-19 has climbed nearly 30% just since last week.
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July 22, 2021