Editorial: Encouraging news on pandemic front

Arizona is by no means out of the woods in its war against the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, there is growing evidence we are winning a key important battle.

We have slowed the rate of virus infections, the long-desired goal of flattening the curve.

Six months into the pandemic, Arizona’s data collection has made a few things perfectly clear.

June, for example, began the first part of the month maintaining the May rate of about 415 new cases daily. The second half of June was an entirely different story. Numbers began to skyrocket. By month’s end, the state was averaging 2,130 new cases each day.

July was Arizona’s worst month to date for COVID-19 infections and deaths. But the infection pattern was just the opposite of what occurred in June. The bulk of July’s infections took place in the first half of the month. New positive cases over the last two weeks of July showed a definite downhill slide.

So far, that seems to be a continuing trend now as we roll into the first week of August. So far this month, the state is averaging only about 1,150 new cases daily, a significant drop over June and July infections.

Consider this: Arizona has not come close to duplicating the single-day high of 5,416 cases reported June 29. Not since July 9 has the state had 4,000 or more new cases in a 24-hour reporting period. July 15 was the last day the state reported 3,000 new positive tests.

There is more encouraging news: Intensive care unit bed usage in Arizona hospitals has dropped from a high of 91% July 2 to 83% this week. The state’s positive-test ratio for new infections has inched down to 12.6%.

Of course, none of this means we should let down our guard. Nor it is a clear sign that public schools should receive the green light to allow in-classroom instruction. Ditto for gyms, bars and churches. Our lives still will not return to normal anytime soon.

Arizonans throughout the state need to remain vigilant in respecting the sound medical advice that calls for face masks when physical distancing is not possible. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. Avoid crowds. Learn to relish the requirement of solitude COVID-19 has thrust upon us.

Do all of the above with the knowledge that Arizonans are prevailing against this pandemic. We are winning. The numbers do not lie.

We’ve got this, folks.

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