Carmona wants Arizona’s focus on public health, not politics, in fight against COVID-19

Sep 16, 2021, 11:45 AM | Updated: 11:48 am
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)...
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

PHOENIX — When Dr. Richard Carmona joined Arizona’s COVID-19 response team as an adviser late last month, one of his first goals was to shift the conversation about the pandemic.

The former U.S. surgeon general wanted bickering over mask and vaccine mandates to stop and instead have Arizonans focused on getting vaccinated and practicing mitigation strategies.

Carmona knows the task won’t be an easy one, but a good conversation with Gov. Doug Ducey has him believing proper messaging can steer Arizonans toward public health and away from politics.

“None of them are productive as far as protecting our citizens and that’s what our responsibility is,” Carmona told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad on Wednesday. “[Ducey] agreed and I said let’s agree on something together.

“Let’s you and I be aligned on telling everybody they need to be vaccinated and telling everybody that they need to practice appropriate public health mitigation strategies, not only for their health but for the economic viability and health of our state.”

Debates over the necessity and legality of mask and vaccine mandates have been swirling in Arizona in recent months, even as cases and deaths continue to rise due to the delta variant.

Ducey has led the charge against those mandates, reiterating his anti-mandate stance that has caught the ire of school leaders, Democrats and others.

It’s the kind of standoff Carmona wants to avoid, as he wrote in a blog post Wednesday for the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Only 50.5% of the population in Arizona is fully vaccinated, trailing the nationwide rate of 54.1%, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Arguing over the politics of this has gotten us nowhere,” Carmona said. “The public, if they choose, have remedies to be able to address things they don’t agree with with the Legislature or the governor.

“But for me, those are not productive conversations when people are sick and dying.”

Carmona said he’s received input from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Banner Health and others.

He expects to have more conversations and develop communication strategies soon on a plan he considers a “tough” ask.

“We want our stadiums to be open. We want to go to football games. We want our restaurants to be open. We want to stop unemployment,” Carmona said.

“The best way to get there is to vaccinate and practice these public health mitigation strategies.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...

Valley contractor owes employees $2.6M in wages, damages in settlement

A Phoenix-area construction contractor agreed to pay $2.6 million in back wages and damages as part of a settlement reached last month, authorities said.
1 day ago
President Joe Biden tours the building site for a new computer chip plant for Taiwan Semiconductor ...
Associated Press

President Joe Biden touts economic plan at TSMC chip plant in north Phoenix

President Joe Biden on Tuesday visited the site for a new computer chip plant in Phoenix and touted his economic plan.
1 day ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Child killed in 2-vehicle collision on Thomas Road in central Phoenix

A child is dead and three other people are in the hospital after a collision in central Phoenix on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)...

Special counsel investigating Trump sends subpoena to Valley elections officials

A federal investigator wants know what Donald Trump and his surrogates said to Maricopa County elections officials before and after the 2020 election.
1 day ago
(Unsplash Photo)...

Pecking orders from Chandler expand rules on keeping backyard chickens

Families in a Phoenix suburb will be counting their chickens, but only up to five, after the city government approved backyard chickens.
1 day ago
(KTAR News File Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Police say possible gun at Scottsdale school was just computer equipment

The student who reported a possible gunman at a Scottsdale high school last week actually saw somebody carrying computer equipment, police said.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Carmona wants Arizona’s focus on public health, not politics, in fight against COVID-19