During the summer, Arizona’s coronavirus rate rose to about 3,500 new cases per day. But after Gov. Doug Ducey (R) allowed local officials to enforce mask mandates across Arizona, those daily cases dropped by about 75%, according to a new CDC study.
The CDC said that by early August, after the Arizona mask mandate was allowed by Ducey, the state recorded an average of about 900 new cases daily.
“The number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona stabilized and then decreased after sustained implementation and enforcement of statewide and locally enhanced mitigation measures, beginning approximately two weeks after implementation and enforcement of mask mandates and enhanced sanitations practices began on June 17; further decreases were observed during July 13–August 7, after statewide limitations and closures of certain services and businesses,” the CDC wrote.
Arizona was an early success story in containing the coronavirus, but after Ducey lifted the state’s stay-at-home order in May, cases rose dramatically. At the time, local experts said the lack of a mask mandate was contributing to that increased caseload. In the first two weeks of June, average daily cases rose by 151%.
Then, Ducey closed bars, gyms, and movie theaters; reduced restaurants to 50% capacity for indoor dining; and said counties could implement their own mask mandates. That’s when the dropoff began. As of Oct. 9, Arizona was No. 8 in the nation with about 225,000 coronavirus cases and more than 5,700 deaths.
“The primary goal of implementing widespread enhanced mitigation measures in Arizona was to protect and save lives and maintain capacity in the health care system,” the CDC wrote. “A combination of voluntary and enforceable measures is more effective than any single measure.”
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