Arizona is finally entering a reprieve from COVID-19. Hospital bed use due to COVID-19 is currently at its lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic and Governor Doug Ducey took the opportunity to end the COVID-19-related state of emergency. Unfortunately, COVID-related deaths still continue and as of March 30, the Arizona Department of Health Services reports that the state is only 800 deaths from 30,000.
The COVID-19 state of emergency in Arizona has come to an end after more than two years in effect. Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th U.S. Surgeon General and special adviser to Governor Ducey on public health supported the governor’s call. Via ABC15:
The current COVID-19 outbreak period in Arizona has ended. COVID-19 is by no means completely through with us, however, and it’s reasonable to expect that we will see increases in cases at times as the virus mutates to survive.
Jessica Riegler, ADHS assistant director for Public Health Preparedness, said in a town hall that the pandemic is not over but she expects that COVID-19 will become a seasonal issue, like the flu, KJZZ reports.
What we don’t know is what the seasonality of COVID-19 will look like, but we do know that it will be here. We need to continue to monitor and be vigilant by taking protective measures and getting everyone vaccinated who can be vaccinated.
Governor Ducey also extended temporary medical licenses issued under his state of emergency executive order. Any temporary medical licenses that were active at the beginning of March will be valid until the end of the year. Fox10 Phoenix reports that over 2,200 licenses remain active, including 1,200 issued to nurses.
National COVID-19 News
A second booster shot of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is now available for Americans ages 50 and older and certain younger people with complicating immune system conditions. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the extra dose but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not urge everyone eligible to go out and receive the additional dose immediately. Associated Press reports that Dr. Rochelle Wallensky, director of the CDC, said that older Americans would likely benefit the most from an additional booster in the short-term future.
The Biden administration has launched COVID.gov to assist Americans with locating tests, vaccines and other resources for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a White House announcement, the website will include a Test-to-Treat locator for people to find access to pharmacies and community health centers that offer appropriate treatments immediately for patients who test positive for COVID-19 in a clinic.
Three doctors studying immunity and virus evolution authored their perspective on the future of COVID-19 and the potential for emerging variants in the New York Times. The interactive graphic illustrates the mutations from the original COVID-19 variant and the possible amino acids that could mutate to circumvent immunity from prior infection or the vaccine causing another global surge of COVID-19 spread.