ASU professor: Poor economy prompted state’s premature reopening

Jul 1, 2020, 4:45 AM
(Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)...
(Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)
(Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)

PHOENIX — As coronavirus cases soar in Arizona, an ASU professor believes the state’s health crisis was prompted by a premature opening in an attempt to revitalize its struggling economy.

“Consequently, the push and desire to reopen the economy so quickly [was] so against what public health authorities were clearly saying could be disastrous,” Director of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Center for Public Health Law and Policy James Hodge told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Hodge said he supported Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey stay-at-home order — which went into effect on March 31 — but that more action could have been taken.

He added he understood the need for people to return to work, but that revised executive orders ought to have been issued earlier to direct physical encounters once employees returned to work and public life.

On Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order mandating a 30-day closure of bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters and water parks amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the state.

Despite the recent action from Ducey, Hodge believes the spike in COVID-19 cases in Arizona and other states could have been avoided easily.

“It looks like an infusion of totally preventable cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, in Texas, in Florida and in California,” Hodge said.

Hodge also added that Arizona — and most of the U.S. — have made no preparations for a second round of extended shutdowns, which could lead to extended financial hardship for millions.

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ASU professor: Poor economy prompted state’s premature reopening