Whereas many of the United States has seen a gentle decline in new coronavirus instances just lately, Arizona has been an outlier.
The state has not been swamped with one other virus wave, however public well being consultants are fearful a couple of regular improve in instances and hospitalizations. As of Tuesday, Arizona’s each day common had climbed 19 p.c within the final two weeks, the second largest rise within the nation over that interval after Wyoming. Solely 4 different states reported will increase of greater than 10 p.c in that point: Washington, Hawaii, Arkansas and Oregon.
Arizona’s each day new case load, at 10 per 100,000 folks, continues to be beneath the nationwide common of 14 per 100,000. Over the past 14 days, as federal well being officers have advised that the virus’s trajectory is enhancing, the nation has seen a 26 p.c lower in new coronavirus instances, and 27 states have seen declines of 15 p.c or extra, in accordance with a New York Instances database.
Will Humble, a former state well being director who heads the Arizona Public Health Association, attributed the increase in new cases to several factors, including a spring influx of travelers and the prevalence of a virus variant first detected in Britain. The variant, B.1.1.7, has been associated with increased transmissibility.
Mr. Humble said the rise in Arizona was not likely to yield a substantial rise in deaths, which have been declining in the state. Most older adults and other people in the state who are at elevated risk of severe illness have already been vaccinated, he said, while the new infections are predominantly in people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are more likely to have milder cases.
Mr. Humble said the rise in cases has “totally different public health implications” now than it would have several months ago, when far fewer people were vaccinated.
“We’re not going to experience the type of lethal experiences that we would have in December, January or February,” Mr. Humble said. Even so, he said, there had been “a notable upward movement” in hospital and intensive-care admissions.
Arizona was slow to put restrictions in place and quick to remove them last summer as cases skyrocketed and intensive-care beds filled to near-capacity. From early June until mid-July, the state reported new cases at the highest rate in the country relative to its size, reaching a peak of 3,800 a day.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order in March that lifted all Covid-19 restrictions in the state and barred local governments from imposing mask mandates.
Mr. Humble said that policy might have left Arizona more vulnerable.“There’s no mitigation at all here, and there hasn’t been for months,” he said.
About 41 percent of Arizonans have received a first dose of the vaccine, and 30 percent have been fully vaccinated, just below the national average. But the picture varies considerably from one part of the state to another. Three of Arizona’s 15 counties have vaccinated more than 40 percent of residents, but five have vaccinated fewer than 30 percent, as of Tuesday.
Dr. Cara Christ, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said last month that the initial rush for vaccines had slowed considerably. “Vaccine appointments used to be snapped up almost as soon as they were made available,” she said. “Now it’s to a point where it’s possible to get a same-day appointment at virtually any state site.”