WebMD News Brief

Arizona is ‘Worst Off’ Right Now

illustration of coronavirus
From the WebMD Archives

A Harvard epidemiologist has brought attention to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona and called it the “worst off” among states, according to Fox 10 in Phoenix.

Arizona continues to record new records of cases, hospitalizations, ICU beds in use for COVID-19 patients, and positivity percentages among those tested, said Eric Feigl-Ding, MD, an epidemiologist and economist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Arizona is currently the worst off,” he told Fox 10. “In terms of a per capita basis, on a 7-day average, Arizona has 212 cases per million population. Arizona ranks number one.”

On Tuesday night, Feigl-Ding posted several graphs on Twitter that showed COVID-19 cases in Arizona.

“Its epidemic now exceeds Brazil and Peru to be one of the hardest hit regions in the world,” he wrote in the Twitter post. “Exceeding all European countries as well.”

He told Fox 10 that the numbers weren’t due to increased testing in the state, which he calculated based on the positivity percentage. He also said the jump in numbers is related to the quick reopening of the state and that many people aren’t following social distancing guidelines or wearing masks.

“So all the terrible things you heard about Lombardi, Italy, Arizona per capita has surpassed Lombardi, Italy,” he said. “That is where I became worried yesterday.”

On Wednesday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said during a news conference that local governments can create mask mandates and determine enforcement measures.

“Any enforcement of such a policy shall focus first on educating and working to promote best practices to accomplish the goal of mitigation,” according to Ducey’s executive order. “An individual shall be notified of the provisions of this order or any policy adopted by a county, city or town and given an opportunity to comply prior to any enforcement action being taken.”

Mayors in Flagstaff, Mesa, Tempe, Tolleson and Tucson made announcements that they will required face masks in public, according to another Fox 10 story. The Phoenix City Council will vote on whether to mandate face masks.

“I fully support this measure,” Mayor Kate Gallego wrote in a Twitter post. “We will only overcome this virus by working together.”

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on June 19, 2020


Fox 10, “Harvard epidemiologist says Arizona is currently the worst off amongst U.S. states in terms of COVID-19.”

Eric Feigl-Ding, “Twitter post, 8:18 p.m. on Jun 16, 2020.”

Fox 10 Livestream, “Arizona Update: Masks could be mandatory in local towns.”

Office of the Gov. Doug Ducey, “Executive Orders: Containing the Spread of COVID-19 Continuing Airzona Mitigation Efforts.”

Fox 10, “Arizona Gov. Ducey to allow local governments to draft their own face mask policies as COVID-19 cases spike.”

Kate Gallego, “Twitter post, 6:25 p.m. on June 17, 2020.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.