While everyone would like the economy to reopen where people can return to work and anyone can go out and have fun at the movies or dinner or a ball game, it would be wise to use sound judgment, based on solid quantifiable and qualitative data before deciding to do so.
That is what the Mayors of Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson urge as opposed to rumblings from parts of the Trump Administration (the President and the nonscientific and nonmedical experts on his team) and various protestors across the country (including Arizona) are prematurely calling for reopening their states.
Nathaniel Sigal, a spokesperson for Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, said the Mayor and her team feel that they would “continue to monitor the spread of the virus and seek input from health experts” before arriving at any decisions on reopening the economy.
Mayor Coral Evans of Flagstaff commented that:
“Anyone considering reopening Arizona isn’t paying attention to what is happening on the Navajo Nation.”
The Navajo Community, as most are aware, has been beset with many medical and economic difficulties thanks to the Coronavirus.
The Navajo Nation has had more Coronavirus cases than eight states and its populace has a significant amount of people with health ailments like diabetes and heart disease.
In Arizona, 714 of the 1197 cases on the Navajo Nation are in the Grand Canyon State. The Navajo Nation is also extending its 57-hour curfew this weekend for the next two weeks.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued a statement on April 17, 2020, titled: “Follow Medical Advice on Reopening the Economy.”
In her statement, Mayor Gallego wrote:
“The pull to reopen our economy in a post-COVID world is understandably strong. I, too, want to help our business community and return to some semblance of normalcy. However, any restart needs to be led by the advice of medical professionals. Restarting the economy too soon is perhaps more disastrous than waiting—it is not a switch to be turned on and off. Yesterday, the White House released guidelines for reopening the economy, including gateway criteria laying out a tiered approach. I support these criteria and believe they should be followed in Arizona.”
“In particular, I support the specific scientific metrics attached to each tier. Including:
- A downward trend of cases with influenza and COVID symptoms based on strong public health surveillance.
- A downward trend of documented COVID cases within a 14-day period based on strong testing programs.
- Adequate hospital capacity with robust COVID testing programs in place for healthcare workers.”
“The White House also laid out robust public health system responsibilities needed to meet this phased opening criteria including, but not limited to, widespread testing and greater testing resources for vulnerable groups; contact-tracing for individuals possibly exposed to COVID; and a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).”
“Currently, Arizona is not meeting the criteria to proceed with a May 1 reopening. In order for us to meet these metrics we need more widespread testing, including asymptomatic individuals, and a more robust contact-tracing program. Every day that our economy must stay closed to protect public health is another blow to our business community. As we work to meet reopening metrics businesses will require continued and expanded assistance.”
The Mayors of Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and other leaders are right to urge prudence, caution, patience, and adherence to medical and scientific data before reopening the economy.
It will prevent needless exposure to the Coronavirus, save lives, and provide a smoother transition to fully reopening the economy and society.