PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Despite the numbers, one Arizona congressman said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic is overblown to score political points in an election year.
"I think this is a golden opportunity for those that hate this president," said Rep. Paul Gosar, who is a Republican.
A new report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates 94% of the people who died from COVID-19 had contributing health conditions.
His comments came a couple of hours after he suggested on social media that the pandemic will end after the November election.
"Maybe only 64 days until the pandemic is over?" he posted on Twitter.
But Will Humble, the former state health director, said the deaths caused by the virus show it's a real threat and not a political ploy. At last count, more than 5,000 people had died in Arizona from the virus, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services' website.
In addition, Humble released a report last month suggesting more people may have died indirectly. These are people, according to Humble, who didn't go to the doctor's office because they feared contracting the virus or because of delays in care due to a halt on elective surgeries.
There were 7,100 deaths more deaths in Arizona during the first seven months of the year when compared to 2019, according to Humble's report.
And during an interview, Humble noted that in July, the peak of the pandemic in Arizona, deaths were up 58% over the prior July.
"So whether or not you believe that it's all resulting from COVID-19 or not, it flies in the face of absolute data that this July is unlike any July that we have ever seen in recent memory," said Humble.