11/27/2022

Arizona’s cities continue to let data drive their COVID-19 decisions, despite the governor’s perceived reluctance

On Tuesday, after weeks of preparation, the City of Tempe launched its COVID-19 dashboard. Allowing residents to track, in real-time, the virus as it moves about the city.

“The long and short of it is it guides us to make better decisions economically,” Tempe City Councilman Joel Navarro said last week. “So we’re closing businesses, we’re not closing businesses. Schools, can we keep schools open?”

How Tempe can use the data it collects is subject to debate. Governor Ducey’s executive order gives him sole authority to close businesses and schools. 

“Unfortunately the governor’s executive order really ties the hands of cities, towns and counties,” Tucson mayor Regina Romero told ABC News’ Amy Robach Thursday.

Romero criticized Governor Ducey for moving too fast, bowing to political pressure to re-open Arizona’s economy.

“Governor Ducey should not base his decisions on his political agenda to re-open business,” Mayor Romero told Robach. “All the mayors throughout Arizona are very concerned about our economy. But the continued spread of COVID 19 will continue pounding our economy if we don’t do this right.”

Some mayors are starting to have doubts about the governor’s stated reliance on science. In an interview last week on whether Ducey should re-open the state, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said, “When your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, your doctor tells you to finish the antibiotic. You don’t stop taking it when you feel better. We need to make sure we are safe.”

Science has been the driving force behind many of the decisions cities, towns and counties make regarding their COVID response. The governor’s decision to first pause modeling, only to reconsider, doesn’t change their approach. 

“Right now we have to rely on science,” Romero says, “we have to rely on data. Science matters.”

So while many across the state are heralding the re-opening of the economy.

Many others, like Mayors Romero and Gallego are hold their breath.
Whatever the outcome, tomorrow is truly the dawn of a new day for Arizona.

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