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 Arizona Governor

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey

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The hits just keep on coming in Arizona, where we seem to break a new coronavirus record every day.

We are now up to 105,094 cases of COVID-19, with 1,927 Arizonans dead and no change in sight.

Also, no evidence that Gov. Doug Ducey is prepared to do what it'll take to combat the “brutal facts” – his words, not mine – facing our beloved state.

Ducey is not in denial like President Donald Trump, who seems to think if you just quit testing people the problem will magically go away.

Arizona’s governor acknowledges that the trajectory of this virus is bad and getting worse. He just appears unable to take the unpopular and alas, necessary next step to begin getting this thing back under control.

I really hate to say this, but it’s time to close Arizona's restaurants to dine-in service again — or at least to limit dining to outdoor spaces.

If Ducey is incapable of going there, then he should allow Arizona’s cities to take the lead as he did with masks.

Gov. Ducey is in a tough spot

Ducey’s in a tough spot. He’s a Republican governor with a base that’s ranting about having to wear a mask, a Legislature that’s beginning to wonder who died and made him king and a president who is desperate to rev up the economy — unable or unwilling to acknowledge that the one thing holding the economy back is this rampaging virus.

It is a “brutal fact” that the only way for Arizona to get back to normal again is to first tame this virus.

Ducey took a step in that direction last week when he ordered the re-closure of bars, movie theaters, water parks and gyms. Then he took another step by showing that unlike this spring he was actually serious this time, suspending liquor licenses and urging cities to crack down on gyms that ignored his executive order.

“When in doubt, we’re going to err on the side of protecting lives,” he said last week.

Well, on Tuesday, Arizona reported another 117 dead, crushing the previous record. (Though, to be fair, DHS says 52 of those deaths were added after checking death certificates dating to mid April.)

Overall, the number of cases in Arizona has doubled in just two weeks. 

If he can't act, let cities do it

So as Ducey said last week, it’s time to talk about “the brutal facts of our present situation.”

The fact that something needs to urgently change in this state. The fact that the coronavirus is not “going to to sort of just disappear,” as Trump suggested/hoped/fantasized about last week.

The fact that reopening the state too quickly led to a resurgence of the disease and the fact that we need to take action now if we are going to avoid a return to the days of a lockdown.

If Ducey won’t take the next step and close restaurant dining rooms – places that the CDC and medical professionals say are spreaders of the disease – then he should toss this particular hot potato to Arizona's cities and counties.

I’m pretty sure Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego is prepared to take action. She’s all over the national news shows, sounding the alarm about the state’s too-little, too-late approach to COVID-19.

“We are in a crisis situation with our health care. We have reached the level where over 90% of our ICU beds are in use,” she told NPR’s All Things Considered on Monday. “And we are quite worried that after the Fourth of July weekend, we will see another large growth in COVID-19 admissions to the hospital.

“So we are very worried about what's to come. I believe the worst is still ahead of us, which is scary because it's already at the level of care where people are being treated in hallways and nurses are coming in from other states.”

Something must change to avoid disaster

Arizona is the first state to authorize “crisis care standards,” in essence allowing doctors to decide who will live and who will die if it comes to that.

Pray to God it doesn't come to that.

But it's said that God helps those who help themselves and right now we need the governor to help us all. 


Ducey cannot avoid the increasingly real prospect that we are headed toward disaster if something doesn’t drastically change in this state and soon.

But if he truly cannot bring himself to do what needs to be done – if he continues to dodge the tough challenges we face with vague talk of “tools in the toolbox and arrows in our quiver” – then it’s time to reach into that toolbox for the keys to the handcuffs that he slapped onto city officials early on in this crisis.

Arizona has a crying need at this moment for leadership.

If he can’t supply it, Ducey should stand aside and let the cities do what needs to be done.

Reach Roberts at - More Stories >>>>>



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