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Giving Compass' Take:
• German Lopez explains that Arizona's unwillingness to close and stay closed has led the state to high infection and hospitalization rates for COVID-19.
• How is your state handling COVID-19? What policies can best protect citizens during this time?
• Learn about making SNAP benefits accessible online for COVID-19 safety.
The US is struggling with a resurgence of the coronavirus in the South and West. But the severity of Arizona’s Covid-19 outbreak is in a league of its own.
Over the week of June 30, Arizona reported 55 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people per day. That’s 34 percent more than the second-worst state, Florida. It’s more than double Texas, another hard-hit state. It’s more than triple the US average.
Arizona also maintains the highest rate of positive tests of any state at more than 25 percent — meaning more than a quarter of people who are tested for the coronavirus ultimately have it. That’s more than five times the recommended maximum of 5 percent. Such a high positive rate indicates that Arizona doesn’t have enough testing to match its big Covid-19 outbreak.
To put it another way: As bad as Arizona’s coronavirus outbreak seems right now, the state is very likely still undercounting a lot of cases since it doesn’t have enough testing to pick up all the new infections.
The state also leads the country in coronavirus-related hospitalizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in five inpatient beds in Arizona are occupied by Covid-19 patients — about 42 percent more than Texas and 65 percent more than Florida, the states with the next-highest share of Covid-19 patient-occupied beds. With hospitalizations rapidly climbing, Arizona became the first in the country to trigger “crisis care” standards to help doctors and nurses decide who gets treatment as the system deals with a surge of patients. Around 90 percent of the state’s intensive care unit beds are occupied, based on Arizona Department of Health Services data.
While reported deaths typically lag new coronavirus cases, the state has also seen its Covid-19 death toll increase over the past several weeks.
This is the result, experts say, of Arizona’s missteps at three crucial points in the pandemic. The state reacted too slowly to the coronavirus pandemic in March. As cases began to level off nationwide, officials moved too quickly to reopen in early and mid-May. As cases rose in the state in late May and then June, its leaders once again moved too slowly.
Read the full article about COVID-19 in Arizona by German Lopez at Vox.