There was good news and bad news to Governor Ducey’s COVID 19 press briefing today.
Death rates, a lagging indicator, are still high.
The Governor still encouraged people to stay home, socially distance, wear masks, and wash hands.
During the question and answer session, Ducey, when asked about Mr. Trump’s tweet about delaying the elections, said he would “follow election law” and said he was supportive of people enrolling in the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL.)
Unfortunately, he did not say anything about making the 2020 election all mail-in voting.
The bad news of the briefing centered on three topics:
- School Reopenings.
- State aid to the Unemployed.
With regard to testing, there is still a backlog of about 30,000 test results.
Last week it was 60,000.
The Governor and Dr. Cara Crist deflected responsibility by blaming the backlog on Sonoran Testing.
Unfortunately, this week to ten-day backlog is making the people testing for COVID 19 redundant because in the time it takes to get the results back, the individual either:
- Did not have the virus but may have it now.
- Had the virus and has spread it to others because he or she did not know in a timely manner they contracted the disease.
- Had the virus and is now better.
Furthermore, Ducey openly wondered why people in South Phoenix and Maryvale did not take advantage of the CDC testing sites over a twelve-day period.
In the July 30, 2020 edition for Yellow Sheet, former Department of Health Services Director Dr. Will Humble said that people do not want to drive and wait in the heat to be tested if they have to wait up to two weeks to get results that will be dated.
With regard to school reopening, a reporter asked the perfectly justifiable question (which has been asked since the July 23 press briefing) if educators and families had enough time to devise appropriate school reopening strategies by August 17 if they only receive the health and safety benchmarks on August 7.
Mr. Ducey evaded by saying parents would have the option of in-person or virtual learning options for their children and advised families to check on what their local district was providing.
Schools Superintendents and their governing boards having the decision making power on how education should be conducted in their local district is appropriate but giving them (and families) the latitude and extra time to plan in-person learning sites for after August 17 to after Labor Day, for example, seems very reasonable.
Finally, the question of how to assist the unemployed if (as it seems likely) Congress does not extend the enhanced Unemployment benefits past tomorrow (July 31) came up four times from journalists.
They all asked what Ducey would do if Congress did not act. Some asked the Governor how people could be expected to live on $240 a week.
Ducey gave the same response all four times he was asked. “Arizona has done all it can. Congress has to do its part.”
So, in essence, the Governor of Arizona just told the citizens of the Grand Canyon State:
- It’s not my fault there is a testing backlog.
- Don’t ask me about how local school districts are going to reopen. Ask them.
- I’m not doing anything about helping people on Unemployment. That is Congress’s responsibility.
This is a failure of leadership from the Governor of Arizona.
Grand Canyon State residents deserve better from their leader other than blaming others, delegating responsibility, and folding his arms in indifference to the needs of the most vulnerable.
He should call a special session immediately and work with state legislators at devising solutions that will help the people.
If not, send Doug Ducey a message 96 days from now on November 3, 2020, and elect a Democratically controlled State Legislature so he can not have a carte blanche to evade his responsibilities to Arizonans during a pandemic.
Please click on the video link of Governor Ducey’s press briefing below.
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