Mask mandates may be slowing Arizona’s rate of virus infections, UA professor says

A county staffer wipes down the mic and podium after comments from the public during a meeting of the Pima County Board of Supervisors to vote on an action to require masks to be worn in public, on June 19, 2020. /Josh Galemore / Arizona Daily Star

By Alex Devoid | Arizona Daily Star

Arizona recently saw its slowest week-to-week increase in coronavirus cases in about a month.

“This is a bit of a subtle point. Things are still going to get worse, just not as quickly as before,” Dr. Joe Gerald, an associate professor with the University of Arizona’s Zuckerman College of Public Health, said in an interview Tuesday. “Absolute counts of new cases will continue to increase, they just won’t be as large as past increases.”

Although Arizona does not have a statewide mask requirement, Gov. Doug Ducey said in late June that three-fourths of the state, including Pima County, is covered by local mandates that masks be worn in public during the pandemic.

Statewide and countywide cases both increased by less than 50% from one week to the next for the first time since the week after Ducey let his stay-home order expire on May 16, according to data published Tuesday by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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