Relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in Arizona is premature and risky, some health experts say

WPTA 21TV, Indianapolis

By Stephanie Innes, Alison Steinbach | Arizona Republic

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to relax COVID-19 capacity restrictions comes too early because the pandemic’s not over, some health experts said Friday.

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association released a statement after the governor’s announcement saying that Arizona is not in a situation “where we can ease up on public health mitigation.”

Related: Editorial: Lifting Arizona’s mask mandates now would be a massive mistake

Similarly, Health System Alliance of Arizona, an advocacy organization that represents several major Arizona health systems, said in a statement, “Now is not the time to relax our mitigation efforts; we must stay the course to ensure that our vaccination efforts can outpace the spread of the virus.”

Dr. Lee Ann Kelley, the 2020 president of the Maricopa County Medical Society, called the governor’s executive order disappointing and premature.

Restaurants are a concerning place when it comes to COVID-19, especially because people often cannot wear masks and need to speak louder to be heard, spreading more droplets, she said.

Not enough of the population has been vaccinated, and variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 remain an unknown factor, said Dr. Farshad Fani Marvasti, a physician and associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, who called the governor’s executive order premature.

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