In Arizona, Nearly 1 In 4 Coronavirus Tests Now Comes Back Positive

The percentage of positive tests in Arizona is more than three times the national average, and hospital capacity has become a concern.

7/3/2020 4:16:00 AM

In Arizona, the number of coronavirus tests coming back positive now hovers around 24% — more than 3 times the national average. Many cases are popping up in 20- and 30-year-olds.

The percentage of positive tests in Arizona is more than three times the national average, and hospital capacity has become a concern.

Matt York/APtoggle captionMatt York/APPeople get tested for the coronavirus at a drive-through site in Phoenix last month. In Arizona, the portion of tests coming back positive now hovers around 24%, more than three times the national average.Matt York/AP

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Arizona is contending with one of the worst outbreaks of any state as coronavirus cases surge again across the United States. Hospitals are bracing for a wave of seriously ill patients, and health officials are pleading with the public to wear masks and heed guidance about social distancing — even in the absence of a second stay-at-home order.

Arizona wasquickto relax restrictions on businesses and reopen its economy, beginning in early May. Most new cases have come in just the past month. Maricopa County, with its Phoenix metro area, now ranks as one of the top five U.S. counties for total cases.

"Our foot is still on the accelerator, conditions are deteriorating and they're going to continue to deteriorate at least for the next two to three weeks," saidDr. Joe Gerald, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona who runs modeling on the coronavirus outbreak.

Gerald says the state is essentially doubling the number of cases every two weeks. Over the past week, it has averaged about 3,500 new cases a day. On Wednesday, Arizona hit a new record, with more than 4,800 positive cases. More than 1,700 people have died.

"You don't have to play that out very long to realize we're soon going to be in considerable trouble as our safety margin for excess hospital beds is fairly quickly dwindling," he said.Based on current trends, Gerald said, the state might run out of licensed beds toward the end of July, but that forecast doesn't take into account whether there will be enough personnel to care for patients, even before then.

Of particular concern is that new cases continue to outpace testing capacity.In Arizona, the portion of tests coming back positive hovers around24%, more than three times the national average. Texas and Florida, where cases are also rising rapidly, have positivity rates of 14% and 16%, respectively.

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"There's a huge reservoir of individuals who are infected and have the ability to transmit that infection," Gerald said.Younger adults are driving much of Arizona's outbreak, with many cases popping up among people in their 20s and 30s, an age group that is more likely to show mild symptoms or be asymptomatic.

That makes tracking cases even more difficult, but Gerald says it may also save Arizona's hospitals from being as overwhelmed as those in a place like New York City."If there's any saving grace ... it's that new cases are heavily concentrated in those best able to survive the infection," he said.

Still, the state is far from having the virus under control. Read more: NPR »

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I'm willing to bet a hell of a lot more younger people are susceptible to this thing than was originally reported. That's why you'll see their numbers rise with more testing. Yay, Arizona! Leading the nation towards herd immunity! SupportHerdImmunity Cases popping up in 20 to 30 year olds is what we want. My God don't you people get it yet?

the amount of you in here that refuse to see basic facts and still claim it’s all fake is appalling like wtf How many are dying? Not good news for Arizonans. This is why a lockdown needs to happen. dougducey, what are you afraid of? 💁‍♂️ Yes what have 20-30 year olds been doing the past three weeks? Can everyone just stay home as much as possible for a while

Are the feds paying/subsidizing corona care? Your experiment in semi-socialized medicine is missing a primary ingredient: a strong public health system that pushes preventive medicine (social distancing/masks). Otherwise it’s unaffordable/doesn’t work. FYI. Younger adults made up the majority of protestors.

Did Trump hold a rally in a church in Arizona about a week ago? Young people, no masks, indoors and no social distancing? Mostly likely protesters Well it IS a Republican majority state legislature so... WearADamnMask I still see people who don't give a crap about others by not wearing a mask, so selfish

So protestors. Young and healthy doing their civic duty - thank them. Don't let the innumerates rule. Sad!! Can't stress enough to wear your mask and social distance. The hospitals are going to be overwhelmed and doctors are going to have to choose who goes on a vent. Wouldn't wish that decision on anyone. People think about your family not getting a vent because there is none

False positives are abnormally high How Many is minor cases? How many will survive? On the bright side, we'll have herd immunity b4 the rest of you 🌵 * *- those who remain PattyArquette I live in AZ. Younger folks think they’re invincible. Problem is, they might be ok but they bring it back to their parents and grandparents

How many people have to die before people believe science 😐

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