Opinion: Arizona is at a ‘pivotal point’ with COVID-19 and Gov. Doug Ducey is MIA. Oh, for a leader who would at least try to head off another human and economic disaster.
Laurie Roberts Arizona Republic
(CNT) City News And Talk #arizona
Arizona, we are told, is at a “pivotal point” for COVID-19.
The number of cases is once again rising, the virus is once again spreading and projections suggest that more people – people’s whose lives could be saved – soon will be dying if something doesn’t change.
“We are currently surging in Arizona,” Joshua LaBaer, who heads Arizona State University’s COVID-19 research efforts, warned on Wednesday, “and my hope is that we can prevent it from getting to the level where it was in the summertime.”
“A lot of it is going to depend on the upcoming weeks,” state Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ told The Arizona Republic on Wednesday. “This pandemic has been so hard to predict and watching what the other states are going through, it’s certainly a possibility, which is why I think right now I think is a pivotal point to remind everybody to keep doing those mitigation strategies.”
A pivotal point, perhaps, for Arizona’s governor to step forward and … lead?
Ducey last briefed us on Sept. 24
Yet Gov. Doug Ducey has not held a public briefing on COVID-19 since Sept. 24, when he announced that happy days are here again. This, as several counties were poised to be upgraded to the category of “substantial spread,” an uptick that is supposed to trigger a return of certain restrictions under the Ducey administration’s own guidelines.
“Arizona is open,” Ducey said at that Sept. 24 briefing. “Arizona’s economy is open, Arizona’s education institutions are open, Arizona’s tourism institutions are open. The expectation is they are going to remain open. We are not going to be, due to a gradual rise in cases, be making any dramatic changes.”
Now Christ is warning that Arizona is at a “pivotal” moment. Public events are gearing up, bars are reopening and just this week, Kingman became the latest city to repeal its mask ordinance.
And about the best the governor can do is to tweet out “Mask Up, Arizona”.
As if anybody takes Ducey seriously after seeing him smiling amid the hundreds upon hundreds of mostly unmasked supporters who flocked to Prescott and Tucson to cheer on President Donald Trump.
Does Ducey believe Trump on COVID-19?
Ducey’s leadership style seems to be “Do as I say unless Trump comes to town at which point I’m not saying anything.”
At least, not until after the Nov. 3 election.
Trump, after all, says Arizona is “doing great with the pandemic”, that the mere mention of it is a media conspiracy to defeat him on Nov. 3.
“I have the biggest rallies I’ve ever had,” he told reporters on Monday. “And we have COVID. People are saying: ‘Whatever. Just leave us alone.’ They’re tired of it.”
“People,” Trump says, “are tired of hearing (Dr. Anthony) Fauci and these idiots.”
Now — just coincidentally, I’m sure — we aren’t hearing from the governor of a state that desperately needs a course correction if we are to avoid a return to the human and economic devastation of June and July.
Or maybe Ducey, like the president, has decided Arizona is “doing great with the pandemic” — that “if you have it you have it, and you get better” and to heck with the inconveniently timed reality that 5,859 Arizonans have died, with many more, sadly, to come.