Wednesday, February 1, 2023 12:19 pm

Why a COVID-19 surge now could be even harder for Arizona to stop


Opinion: If Arizona experiences a fourth surge in COVID-19 cases now, tamping them back down may be far more difficult.

By Joanna Allhands | Arizona Republic

What should Arizona be doing in this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The outlook depends on whether we experience another surge in cases over the next few weeks.

If Arizona doesn’t see a surge

Let’s assume we don’t see a fourth surge, that somehow in the battle between vaccinations, variants and COVID-19 fatigue, cases remain where they are now, which is basically where we were in October.  

The pandemic’s not over. Not by a long shot. But not being in constant crisis mode affords us the luxury of focusing on vigilant maintenance.

There may still be a battle between the state and a few cities and counties over mask mandates, but I suspect it will taper off if case rates hold. The politics don’t work for cities and counties to punish those who refuse to comply, no more than they work for the state health department to issue a blanket ban on mask mandates.

Détente is far more likely.

Meanwhile, as demand for appointments drops at the state’s mass vaccination sites, our vaccination strategy should shift toward supporting smaller, more targeted events at clinics, pharmacies and within neighborhoods to reach those who remain hesitant about getting a shot.


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