Arizona’s coronavirus cases, deaths plummet: ‘The state has turned a corner,’ says Dr. Marc Siegel

The data is clear: Arizona has turned a corner in regards to the novel coronavirus.

The number of cases and deaths has dropped nearly to levels seen back in April, according to state-reported data. While July was a turbulent time on both accounts, Arizona has since seen a dramatic drop-off.

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An epi-curve from state-reported figures in August show confirmed daily cases continued to drop, gradually de-escalating from about 1,200 new cases at the start of the month. New daily infections in April remained below 500.

Meanwhile, daily death counts remained below 56 in August — a drop from daily deaths nearly reaching 100 in mid-July, according to the epi-curve.

Holly Poynter, a public information officer with the Arizona Department of Health Services, confirmed to Fox News in an email that the epi-curve data “allows for a clear picture of trends in Arizona and prevents any spikes due to lags in data reporting.”

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday he would drop five states from New York’s travel advisory list, easing quarantine restrictions on visitors from regions previously viewed as hotbeds for the coronavirus. The Grand Canyon State was one of the five nixed from the governor’s list.

“New Yorkers made enormous sacrifices to get our numbers as low as they are today, and we don’t want to give up an inch of that hard-earned progress,” Cuomo said in a statement. “That’s why these travel advisory precautions are so important — we don’t want people who travel to states with high community spread to bring the virus back here.”

While Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the closure of bars, gyms, movie theaters, and other establishments in June, he stopped short of a statewide mask mandate, leaving it up to local governments to determine policies, implementation, and enforcement. The Republican governor faced criticism for not mandating masks to slow the spread of the virus.

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Maricopa County, for example, home to Phoenix, has the highest case count by far in the state, and its countywide mask mandate remains in place as cases continue to drop, one outlet wrote.

“The state has turned a corner and I believe public health played a major role,” said Dr. Marc Siegel, practicing internist and Fox News medical contributor. Siegel said the state’s drop-off in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are “partly due” to public health measures, including the mask mandates, business closures, and better public messaging.

However, he questioned whether the virus had made its way through susceptible populations, which he also said may have “led to a drop-off.”

At a press conference last week, Ducey discussed some of the latest figures, such as the decrease in percent positivity, drop in the percentage of “COVID-like” illness to 4.1 percent, which is down from 21 percent in June, and a downward trend of hospital beds in use by coronavirus patients. At that time, he noted the reproduction rate of the virus (RO, pronounced R-naught, according to Reuters) was “tied for second-lowest in the nation” at 0.84, adding that a figure less than 1 means the virus spread will slow.

“This is all good news. This is all good data and it’s a good reason for people to be hopeful and optimistic about the future,” Ducey had said at the press conference. “At the same time, we want to remain cautious and keep doing what’s working.”

According to this continually updated figure, Arizona now has the lowest rate of virus reproduction in the country at an estimated 0.75, while South Dakota has the highest at an estimated 1.23.

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Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.