Governor Ducey continued his campaign to do absolutely nothing about the growing COVID-19 epidemic in Arizona at his Thursday, June 11th presser. Dr. Cara Christ sat next to him and backed his lack of any plan to the hilt.
I watched in fascinated horror as Ducey admitted that the epidemic was growing in Arizona (start at 7:10 in the video for a stark admission), yet decisively announced he was doing nothing to slow or stop it (go to 15:30 to see the stark contrast between the facts and Ducey’s plans). Instead, he is just waiting to see how many will get sick and end up in the hospital.
I was initially quite surprised and pleased that Ducey clearly admitted that cases and percentage of positive tests were, in fact, increasing, despite his repeated earlier denials and eliding away early trends in this direction. I thought it might lead him to the obvious conclusion that we have to do something immediately to address and bring under control those trends. I was deeply disappointed.
I can only conclude that his advisors, specifically Dr. Christ, have not impressed upon him, or do not understand themselves, the nature of exponential growth. It may well already be too late to do anything to stem the coming tide of seriously ill patients overtopping our critical care facilities in Arizona.
I was deeply shocked and angered by Dr. Christ’s frank assertion that “We are not going to be able to stop the spread. And so we can’t stop living, as well.” (go to 20:38 in the video) I suggest that Dr. Christ’s attitude will ensure that many Arizonans will, in fact, “stop living.”
Perhaps Dr. Christ thinks her job is to serve as Ducey’s loyal factotum, backing up his policy choices? It is not. The mandate of the AZ DHS is “[e]pidemiology and disease control programs…” It is exactly her job to control the spread of disease in Arizona. She just admitted she does not believe she’s up to doing that job.
Dr. Christ should resign and allow someone who is willing to undertake the protection of Arizona’s citizens from the epidemic.
As wildfires sweep Arizona along with a resurgent COVID-19 epidemic, one meme keeps returning to my mind:
It’s not a comforting image.
Governor Ducey and Dr. Christ seem set on testing whether a healthcare system already battered and exhausted by the first wave of the virus in Arizona can cope with a second. Our capacity is already stretched to the breaking point. We now have less than 20% of our capacity available statewide, with many areas already stretched beyond capacity. Compare that remaining fraction to an available capacity of over 40% when the first wave struck. How does that not spell disaster if we don’t bring this trend under immediate control?
Over 500 COVID-19 patients have already had to be moved between facilities due to shortages of equipment, PPE, personnel, or space under the Arizona Surge Line state-wide load balancing system. Many areas of the state are already failing to meet patient needs.
The emergency we are certainly headed into has been admitted internally and to healthcare facilities around the state, but is not being communicated to the public with any clarity, nor backed by any proactive measures to slow the contagion.
Just look at Dr. Christ’s June 6th emergency activation letter:
From Dr. Christ’s June 6th letter:
“Fully activate your facility emergency plan”
“make determinations for moving your facility from conventional care to contingency care and prepare for crisis care”
“Be judicious and reduce or suspend elective surgeries to ensure adequate bed capacity for both COVID and non-COVID admissions”
“Maintain and implement plans to staff the surge beds you identified…”
“Utilize the Arizona Surge Line for interfacility transfer of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19…”
“Institute CDC guidance for optimization of PPE” (‘optimization’ means to reuse and ration -MB)
That is an emergency declaration and directions to prepare for the coming crisis. Yet Dr, Christ and Governor Ducey insist Arizona’s healthcare system has the capacity to handle everything that the virus throws at us.
We do not.
They are wrong. Or just lying.
Dr. Christ is a battered wife standing by her man, rather than standing up for the people’s health. She has given up doing her job to back Ducey’s “do nothing” policy. She’s admitted she can’t do the job Arizona hired her to do.
Governor Ducey is a loyal acolyte of Trump, sitting in the burning wreckage of Arizona’s healthcare system and asserting “This is fine,” in order to help the re-election of his real boss. He is not serving the people of Arizona; he’s serving Trump.
We are going to have a lot of people die as a result of their inaction and misplaced loyalties.
The nature of exponential growth means we are not going to see a gradual rise in cases for long. We will soon see an explosion as cases double and double again. And again. And Again. That is exponential growth. If you do not take measures to control the early doublings, you have no hope of staving off the latter ones that will swamp any capacity you might have.
Yet Ducey and Christ will do nothing but monitor the situation. In other words, they will watch the virus burn through Arizona and do nothing as our people die. Well, they will do one thing…
This is from Arizona Crisis Standards of Care Plan. This is what has been invoked by Dr. Christ’s letter.
Dr. Christ has instructed Arizona’s healthcare facilities to “prepare for crisis care.’ What does that entail, you might reasonably ask? This:
This is the standard model of triage under ‘crisis care.’
Note the group “Expectant”. That means “expected to die.” The care given to those folks under crisis care is limited by resources. Not by treatment options, or individual medical conditions. Resources. Those people are expected to die, and we can only offer them “comfort care.” We can only help them to die. Because we lack the resources to help them live.
That is what Dr. Christ has declared. That is what Arizonans are facing.
Ducey and Christ will end up monitoring the number of dead and dying as our hospitals collapse under the weight of unchecked exponential growth of infections.
That is Ducey’s “Arizona Way.”