October 15, 2020

CDC: Community Mitigation Efforts Slowed COVID-19 Spread in Arizona

Sustained implementation and enforcement of mitigation measures such as mask mandates, enhanced sanitation practices, and business closures were associated with slower spread of COVID-19 in Arizona this summer, according to a report published last week by CDC. The report, which examines the numbers of daily COVID-19 cases and seven-day moving averages from Jan. 22 through Aug. 7, indicates a spike in cases two weeks after a statewide stay-at-home order was lifted. Cases then declined following a reintroduction of community mitigation measures, the report states.

Arizona’s statewide stay-at-home order was issued on March 30 and lifted on May 15. Between June 1 and June 15, the average number of daily COVID-19 cases increased more than 150 percent, from 808 to 2,026. On June 17, local and county measures went into effect, including mask mandates that applied to approximately 85 percent of the state population, according to the report. Statewide measures put into place after June 17 included limits on public events to fewer than 50 people; the closure of bars, gyms, movie theaters, and other recreational facilities; and limits on restaurant seating to 50 percent of capacity. The seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases peaked at 4,377 on July 1. Between July 13 and August 7, the seven-day moving average decreased 75 percent, from 3,506 to 867.

While the report suggests community mitigation efforts can slow the spread of COVID-19, other factors could have influenced changes in Arizona’s case rates, such as travel restrictions, mitigation measures put in place by neighboring states, and residents’ individual choices to voluntarily restrict movement. CDC was unable to determine the extent to which any single mitigation measure contributed to the decline in COVID-19 cases. The report also cautions that Arizona may not be representative of other U.S. states, and its successes in slowing COVID-19 may not be repeatable elsewhere.