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Ducey reaffirms COVID plan, vaccine hopes in State of the State address

Screenshot (YouTube/ Governor Doug Ducey)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey reaffirmed his commitment to his plan for getting the state through the coronavirus pandemic and touted his hope for the vaccine returning life to normal Monday in his annual State of the State address.

Ducey said he wouldn’t give in to criticisms that the state isn’t doing enough to ward off COVID-19, which has now claimed more than 10,000 lives in Arizona.

Even as numbers continue to get worse in Arizona, Ducey wouldn’t commit to enacting more mitigation strategies.

“I’m well aware that taking the measured, steady, responsible approach will continue to invite criticism from all directions that we’re doing too much or not enough,” Ducey said during the speech, which was held virtually due to the pandemic.

“The critics can say what they want, but the path I’ve outlined is the right path for Arizona.”

As of Monday, Arizona was No. 1 in the country for most COVID-19 deaths per capita over the last seven days and No. 2 for cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Ducey’s hope is that mass vaccinations will bring Arizona out of the pandemic.

Vaccine rollout has hit roadblocks since the first shots were administered in mid-December, but progress is starting to ramp up as many counties move to the next phase of distribution.

Ducey’s plan is that as more residents receive the vaccine, more of the state and its facilities will be able to remain open and thrive.

“In so many ways, an extremely tough year brought out the best in us. And yet sometimes, despite all, our best wasn’t enough,” Ducey said. “It’s a vicious virus, taking some 10,000 lives in our state alone, and has left nothing but grief in its path.

“With the vaccine, however, we aim to cut off that path as quickly as possible.”

Ducey highlighted education, mental health and the economy as areas he expected to improve once herd immunity was reached in the state.

The Republican governor committed to providing more resources for students, who he believes should be in the classroom.

“Distance learning has not been good for these students, who often don’t have Wi-Fi or a laptop available,” Ducey said. “So starting now, let’s direct resources to helping these children catch up.”

Ducey also touched on the unrest in Washington, D.C., as the country prepares for Joe Biden to take over the presidency.

He denounced the violent riots and said he hosted a bipartisan meeting with Arizona political leaders to discuss the recent events and what can be done to avoid it in the future.

“Arizona will do its part to bind up the nation’s wounds,” Ducey said. “Here, we will conduct ourselves with integrity, and respect for each other and for the United States Constitution.”

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