The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 17, 2020 1:00 am

Mask mandate yields results for Arizona

As COVID-19 cases surge in Indiana and other Midwestern states, health officials are noting the success a state saw when officials were allowed to put some teeth into mandates.

Arizona saw case numbers fall by 75% between July 13 and Aug. 7. That coincided with enactment of local mask mandates, which local officials “began implementing and enforcing ... via county and city mandates” on June 17, according to a report from the Arizona Department of Health Services. The local mandates applied to about 85% of the state's residents.

Cases were up by 151% earlier in the summer.

Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, had issued an executive order that stated cities, counties and towns could not pass anything that “conflicts with or is in addition to” statewide restrictions. He did not issue a statewide mask mandate.

Mayors across the state joined a social media campaign asking the governor to reconsider. Ducey relented.

Multiple cities quickly passed mask mandates, and cases stabilized about two weeks later. The governor also paused Arizona's reopening, restricting bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks, which likely contributed to the steep decline in positive cases.

Arizona, with a population of about 7.2 million, reported 902 new cases and five deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Indiana, by comparison, reported 1,172 new cases and 14 deaths that day. Indiana has about 500,000 fewer residents than Arizona.

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