TUCSON— Recently Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services announced that COVID-19 benchmarks for restricting non-essential business procedures were altered. The changes allow businesses to remain open throughout the pandemic—with essentially no regard to infection rate or hospital capacity. According to a CDC report issued in September, adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant.
“COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are at an absolute crisis point in Arizona. Hospitals, health providers, and scientists have rung every alarm bell, and the state is now responding by doing the opposite of what it should to help save lives.
“This is part of a pattern of promoting a false choice between saving the economy and saving lives. It gives the impression that the virus isn’t as serious or deadly, and encourages people to flout public health guidance, ignore physical distancing, and unwillingly spread the virus.
“Instead of hampering mitigation tools, the state should be implementing a mask mandate and policies that further restrict non-essential social settings that are clearly spreading the virus. They must more efficiently direct the federal assistance they were provided so businesses and workers can weather this storm – not force them to stay open and put lives in jeopardy. We will never be able to help our economy recover and get our children back to school safely if we fail to get this virus under control.”