Did you all see the photos from the Open Up Arizona rally on Friday, May 1 at the Capital? Wow! On two recent Fridays, there have been large public rallies at the Arizona Capital to promote ending the executive order that closed businesses and told people to shelter in place due to the COVID19 outbreak.
The social media promotion for this past weekend encouraged people to rally at Wesley Bolin Plaza on Friday, have a party in the park with friends on Saturday, and “rev it up” by going to church on Sunday.
Many anti-vaccine folks￼ are participating in these rallies because they don’t want the government to require Coronavirus vaccines (which don’t exist). Think about this. What could go wrong? A bunch of people who don’t believe in being vaccinated decide to go to participate in three days of large public events… during a pandemic! You can’t make this stuff up.￼
After three days of big rallies in Phoenix, today (Cinco de Mayo), President Trump had a big campaign event in Phoenix, and infamously shook hands with Governor Ducey with no masks and no gloves. He also toured a manufacturing plant that makes masks, has signs posted that masks are required, but Trump and his people didn’t wear masks. (Real men don’t get sick? UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ended up in the hospital with COVID19 because he “shook hands with everyone.)
With four large events within a few days, this is a contact tracing nightmare. Judging by the nature of these events, there will be people who will go to all four of these, and people like me will avoid all four … like the plague. In a recent Blog for Arizona post, the AZ Blue Meanie quotes several news sources that reveal COVID19’s political divide. Many Republican politicians and commentators are rushing to open up the states for business, while Progressive Democratic politicians (like me) are saying we should ramp up testing and contact tracing; protect the people from homelessness and financial ruin with governmental relief; continue to shelter in place; wear masks when we go out; help the truly small local businesses keep afloat (and force the multinational corporations to fend for themselves); and believe in SCIENCE.
On top of this, on May 4, Governor Doug Ducey bowed to pressure from Republican conservatives and from big business and announced that he will be further opening up the state for business. Barber shops and salons can re-open up on May 8, and dine-in restaurants are allowed to open on May 11. ￼They are required to enforce social distancing and all customers and staff have to wear masks, but I believe that it is far too soon to do this. Just now, ABC15 reported that the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) informed the Coronavirus modeling team at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University via an email on May 4 that they should stop working. ADHS says it will use national data instead of Arizona modeling data. What’s wrong with that? The national data includes states that are doing testing and handling the outbreak wisely; that’s NOT Arizona. We need the modeling team to take a granular look at what opening up a state with the worst testing record looks like in real time. At Ducey’s April 29 press conference, he said they would watch the data as the state opens up slowly. Less than a week later, he has caved on opening up slowly and fired the data team. Ducey appears to be following Trump’s lead; the White House announced that it will be “winding down” the federal Coronavirus task force. (You just can’t make this stuff up.) Laurie Roberts of the Republic does a good job of breaking down the timeline on Ducey’s flip-flopping on the decision to open up the Arizona economy and on the data in this article: Gov. Doug Ducey fires the scientists who warn he’s making a mistake by reopening Arizona. From Roberts:
“The universities’ model – an Arizona-specific model created by 23 researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona – has projected that the only way to avoid a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases is to wait to reopen at the end of May.
“’I can say, scientifically, no, it’s not safe to reopen unless you’re planning on, you know, shutting down again after a couple of weeks,” Tim Lant, a mathematical epidemiologist at ASU, told The Republic on April 22.
“Shortly after Ducey’s Monday announcement that he’s reopening parts of the economy, DHS notified Lant and his team that their services are no longer needed.
“And not only that, but they’ll be cut off from access to state data they need to continue their modeling.
“Better, apparently, not to know the dangers that may lie ahead.”
So– the scientific modeling team didn’t come to the conclusion that our businessman governor wanted, so he fired the scientists. We are living in a live experiment. We already know that there are people among us who are infectious and don’t know it because they don’t have any symptoms. We also know that Arizona is #49 or #50 in testing. Even with Ducey’s testing blitz goal of 30,000-60,000 tests over three Saturdays, that’s not enough. ￼Why is the testing blitz only three days? Why do people have to wait seven days for results? Both the state and federal governments have provided money for escalated testing. Why aren’t we doing that?
You can tell from my videos that my hair is getting long and oddly lumpy instead of perky and wavy like it usually is. I’ll dig out the hair clips before I get a haircut under unsafe conditions.
This isn’t over. Please be safe.