Valley doctor says Ducey should reverse law, require masks in schools
PHOENIX — A Valley doctor is among a group of more than 150 medical professionals urging Gov. Doug Ducey to reverse Arizona law and make masks mandatory in public schools.
Dr. Ricardo Correa told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday that he’d prefer to not have a mandate, but that resurging COVID-19 spread due to the delta variant has made action a necessity.
“If everyone was protecting their neighbor, we wouldn’t have to have any type of mandate,” Correa said. “But this is the problem, we are being selfish as human beings.”
Correa and other doctors, in a letter delivered Thursday to Ducey, said that the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 “has changed the fight.”
Ducey this summer signed legislation that bans schools from requiring children to wear masks as part of the new budget.
At least six school districts in Phoenix and Tucson have defied Ducey and the Republican-controlled Legislature’s ban on mask mandates. The ban doesn’t take effect until late September, but lawmakers declared it retroactive to June 30.
A Phoenix Union High School District biology teacher has filed a lawsuit challenging the district’s mask mandate under the new law.
“If you decide to not do something and you take your own risk, that’s fine,” Correa said. “If you decide to not do something and you put at risk your neighbors, your family and others, that’s something that involves more than your own freedom.”
Correa said younger people have been more affected by the delta variant.
Children generally have milder cases of the disease, but some youngsters and teens have been hospitalized. About 2,300 of the nearly 68,000 people who have been admitted to an Arizona hospital with COVID-19 were under the age of 20, according to state data.
“They never think they can contaminate others and that others can die from that,” Correa said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.