Story at a glance
- Coronavirus cases in Arizona spiked in June after stay-at-home orders were phased out in mid-May.
- In response, the state’s governor lifted an executive order that prohibited local officials from imposing mask mandates.
- While about 85 percent of Arizona’s population was required to wear masks in public, the seven-day moving average of cases fell by about 75 percent between July 13 and Aug. 7.
The number of new coronavirus cases in Arizona fell by about 75 percent in less than a month after mask-wearing became widely enforced and bars and gyms were shut down, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Coronavirus cases in Arizona stayed relatively stable from early March — when the state first declared a public health state of emergency — to May as stay-at-home orders were in place and nonessential businesses remained closed. The number of daily cases at the time ranged from 150 per day to 440.
However, when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) phased out statewide stay-at-home orders in mid-May, declaring “we are clearly on the other side of this pandemic,” the number of daily infections exploded.
The average number of daily cases increased by about 151 percent, from 808 cases on June 1, to 2,026 on June 15.
The alarming rise in cases prompted Ducey to lift an executive order that had prohibited local officials from imposing mask mandates and most cities began immediately requiring masks in public. The CDC estimates these local requirements affected about 85 percent of Arizona’s population.
Statewide, bars, gyms and movie theaters were closed while restaurant dine-in capacity was reduced.
The seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases peaked between June 29 and July 2, stabilized July 3 through July 12 and fell by about 75 percent between July 13 and Aug. 7, according to the CDC.
“Widespread implementation and enforcement of sustained community mitigation measures, including mask wearing, informed by state and local officials’ continual data monitoring and collaboration can help prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and decrease the numbers of COVID-19 cases,” the CDC report says.
The analysis used data from the Arizona Department of Health Services from Jan. 22 to Aug. 7.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW