Phoenix mayor: 'We opened way too early in Arizona'

Phoenix Mayor Kate GallegoKate GallegoCities and states must lead as window of opportunity shrinks for climate action Once a COVID-19 epicenter, Arizona emerges from lockdown Congress should move immediately to devise a comprehensive recovery act MORE (D) said Sunday that the pace of Arizona's reopening indicated to some residents that the coronavirus crisis was over and, in turn, spurred a record number of new cases.

"We opened way too early in Arizona. We were one of the last states to go to stay at home and one of the first to reemerge, and we reemerged at zero to 60," Gallego said on ABC's "This Week." "We had crowded nightclubs handing out free champagne, no masks. Our 20- to 44-year-olds, which is my own demographic, really led the explosion, and we've seen such growth in that area. We're seeing a lot of people go to large family gatherings and infect their family members."

She later added, "I think when nightclubs were open, it sent the signal that we had, again, defeated COVID, and obviously, that is not the case."

Gallego also said the city was in a testing crisis, with people waiting up to eight hours to be tested for the coronavirus. She said she asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct community-based testing in Phoenix.

"We were told they’re moving away from that, which feels like they’re declaring victory while we’re still in crisis mode," she said.


Arizona is one of the states driving the recent spike in coronavirus cases. It has over the past week seen record numbers of new infections.

ABC's Martha Raddatz asked Gallego if mixed messages from various levels of government were making the job of containing the pandemic more difficult.

"It is. President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE was in my community, chose not to wear a mask, and he’s having large events while I am trying to push people that you need to stay at home and that events with more than 10 people are dangerous, per the Centers for Disease Control," Gallego said.