Six Republicans are investigating Arizona’s COVID-19 response 

Former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican (here receiving COVID vaccine) provided financial incentives to families and school districts that rejected mask mandates during the pandemic. He widely was criticized for not implementing a statewide mask mandate and for not issuing a shelter-in-place order amid dire warnings about the looming crisis in Arizona hospitals in November 2020 and December 2020. || Governor’s Office

By Stephanie Innes

The Arizona Republic

A group of six Arizona and U.S. Republican lawmakers, including several who have criticized efforts to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19, say they’ll be investigating the state’s pandemic response.

The Novel Coronavirus Southwestern Intergovernmental Committee will hold its first meetings May 25 and May 26, a news release from the Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus says. The disease now called COVID-19 was known as the novel coronavirus until it was renamed by the World Health Organization in February 2020. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“From the looks of this committee, they appear to think we did too much (COVID-19 mitigation),” said Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, who throughout the pandemic said Arizona was not doing enough to prevent illness and death from the virus.

The committee will be chaired by state Sen. Janae Shamp, R-Surprise, a registered nurse who has said she lost a nursing job because she refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In a written statement, Shamp said the committee is “determined to hold those accountable for the injustices experienced.” The vice chair of the group is T.J. Shope, a Republican from Coolidge who co-owns a family business, Shope’s IGA Supermarket.

During the pandemic, Biggs urged Arizonans to flout federal and state guidance on COVID-19 and promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive COVID-19 measure, though it wasn’t recommended for prophylactic use by the federal or state government.

“The people of Arizona deserve to know the details of exactly how the pandemic was mismanaged,” Sen. Janae Shamp, R-Surprise wrote in an email to The Arizona Republic on Monday.

Gosar, who has a dental degree and once practiced dentistry in Flagstaff, promoted the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned that it could cause severe illness.

There’s still no convincing evidence that ivermectin does anything to help prevent death in patients with COVID-19, or that it prevents people from transmitting the COVID-19 virus, but Gosar said the opposite in a September 2022 tweet. In that same tweet, Gosar called Dr. Anthony Fauci a liar.

Biggs, Crane and Gosar have called for an investigation into the U.S. response to COVID-19 and into Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who coordinated the country’s COVID-19 efforts and was Biden’s chief medical adviser in 2021 and 2022.

Mental health:How COVID reshaped the landscape in Arizona — and what’s next


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May 2023