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Valley doctor cautions against ruining COVID progress during spring holidays

(AP stock Photo/Mary Altaffer)

PHOENIX – A Valley doctor urged Arizonans not to undo the progress made during the COVID-19 pandemic by failing to follow safety protocols during holidays like spring break and St. Patrick’s Day.

Dr. Michael White, chief clinical doctor at Valleywise Health, said the risk of a fourth surge still exists, despite key COVID-19 metrics being the lowest they’ve been in months.

“COVID-19 is not disappeared, those same risks that were present before still exist today,” White said as he cautioned people to avoid crowds and large gatherings.

“Those that are asymptomatic but still may be shedding this virus are still present in the community, so that risk is still there until we start to get more individuals vaccinated.”

About 22% of Arizonans have now been vaccinated, nowhere close to the 70% experts say is needed to reach herd immunity.

That is why White recommended continuing to be vigilant.

“We need to continue to do those things that have helped us get to this point,” White said.

He explained the continued importance of handwashing, social distancing and wearing a mask while also advising against travel if possible.

An increased number of new variants across the country is another reason White claims it’s too soon to let our guard down.

White hopes people will do the right thing to continue slowing the spread since fewer cases mean less of a strain on the state’s hospital system.

Arizona saw major spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospital metrics after other holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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