Turn on the news shows or events this week (like a Biden event on COVID 19, ABC, CNN, or MSNBC) and many viewers would have seen Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego describing the plight of her city in the COVID 19 surge engulfing Arizona.

Today (July 9, 2020,) she took questions on the Coronavirus surge in Phoenix from Washington Post Journalist Jonathan Capehart on his Podcast show.

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A summary of some of the questions and responses are below.

On what happened after her appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on July 5, 2020.

 After relaying on the show about the lack of support from the federal government (FEMA) on increasing testing sites in Phoenix, the Trump Administration reached out to her and her team.

How did she find out about the new federal testing site in the West Valley?

She found out via tweet.

On Communication with the Federal Government.

“Eye-opening” with professional engagement in ZOOM meetings but criticisms of her publicly.

Later, Mari Bourbon, the Mayor’s Press Secretary relayed that:

“After a national interview, the Mayor was contacted by the White House. They helped facilitate calls with FEMA, HHS, and AZDHS. The Mayor had two to three conversations (one zoom) with them but was surprised to be mentioned by the Admiral in the press conference.” 

On the Pandemic conditions for people on the ground in Phoenix.

The Mayor described:

  • People having to wait five to seven hours for testing in South Phoenix with 115- and 117-degree temperatures. The Mayor brought up an example of a man having to fill his gas tank while waiting online.
  • She criticized Vice President Pence for saying Arizona is bending the curve. “We were growing at an exponential rate; bending it a little lower does not look like success to the people still waiting for tests or for doctors slammed at hospitals.”

Has Arizona lost control with 117 deaths yesterday with 2000 new cases a day in Maricopa; What is driving that?

“(Arizona) was last to go to stay at home and one of the first to reopen defying CDC guidelines like reopening night clubs. Younger people think they could celebrate and the impression that it (COBVID 19) only impacted over 65. if you are a young and spend the week in the hospital it is not a success. More than 60 percent have been people younger than 44.”

 What did you know that Ducey didn’t?

 “I talked with health and science people. I am very concerned about lives and there are others that put economic vitality above all else.”

 On Ducey backing down and allowing cities to impose mask guidelines:

“I joined with other mayors in promoting masks.” Gallego said that the Governor’s decision was impacted by them.

Are people abiding by the mask-wearing rule?

“Yes, and stores are helping to remind people on the intercom.”  The Mayor also joked about some of the more colorful negative public comments that her staff has endeavored to keep from her.

The Impact of the Trump visit two weeks ago.

The Mayor said the Trump visit added a political element that should not be a public health debate. She relayed that at the local level, many Greater Phoenix area Republican mayors and board of supervisors have mandated mask-wearing. “Those that do not wear masks do so because they support Trump.”

 On Federal Government Involvement during the Pandemic.

“The federal government is involved but more national support is needed and a more robust investment from federal government like FEMA surge testing. I am thrilled that they will be coming to Phoenix. because we are stretched beyond our local capacity and we need that federal partnership.”

 Are there enough beds to accommodate all patients?

The Mayor said, “if you are feeling symptoms like a stroke or heart attack, go to the hospital because service is available.” However, citing people she knows who have not received cancer treatment, the Mayor acknowledged that “things are scary.”

On Reopening Schools

“I am very concerned about reopening without enough data and the current situation on the ground. I understand it is good for a child’s development, but we have to lead with public health” and she said that some federal officials are not leading with that approach.

On the need to help Rural Arizona:

Ms. Gallego relayed that thanks to COVID 19, “I have had more contact with more mayors on shared messages like the need to help rural healthcare centers and spreading the message of staying home”  She also wants to spread the message of visiting regional tourist sites when things get back to normal so local economies will be assisted by increased sales tax revenue.

On cities run by women like Tucson and Flagstaff:

The Mayor conveyed that they were very good at sharing and coordinating information.

What has changed Arizona to make it a battleground state?

She noted an “incredible transition with strong urban growth and suburban women who care about education and children and health care where they trust Democrats more and if that continues into November the Democrats could win.”

Please click on the link below to access the whole video of the conversation between Mayor Kate Gallego and Jonathan Capehart

https://www.washingtonpost.com/washington-post-live-leadership-during-crisis-kate-gallego/

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