Health experts react to new animated graphs that show state COVID-19 numbers changing over time

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- New animated graphs are making the rounds on social media, showing how COVID-19 numbers changed in all 50 states during the pandemic and how each state's response played a part.

Arizona is not hard to miss on most of these graphs, because at one point, our numbers were rising at such a fast rate.

[See the data HERE]

These animations, with data from the New York Times, illustrate Arizona’s pandemic response. In June and July, Arizona far exceeds states in both new COVID-19 cases and new COVID-19 deaths.

“I’m just being honest with you, I think the response from the second half of May up until probably June 25th was actually pretty bad,” said Arizona’s former health department director Will Humble.

Humble said he thinks state officials did well up until May, and then decisions were poor.

Governor Doug Ducey lifted the stay at home order on May 15th, and two weeks later, these graphs show the start of quickly rising cases and deaths.

Humble said that initial reopening wasn't done well, forcing Arizona to backtrack weeks later.

“We did it very abruptly and without any compliance or enforcement expectations on the part of bars and nightclubs,” said Humble.

In June, Governor Ducey allowed local cities to make their own mask mandates.

Gov. Doug Ducey announces local governments can implement face mask policies

“Not only did we not have a statewide face covering mandate, we had been prohibiting cities and counties from having a local ordinance in place all the way up until June 17th,” said Humble.

Humble said data shows in the weeks after local leaders enforced mask mandates, numbers improved, though Arizona is still in the top ten in most categories.

Humble said he hopes these graphs can be used to do better during an expected second wave. “Elected officials within our state can learn from the experiences we went through in June and July and hopefully not repeat them,” Humble said.

We reached out to the Arizona Health Dept. to ask for their reaction and if they believe these animations highlight a downfall in their pandemic response, but we did not hear back.


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