As Arizona sees surge in COVID-19 cases, ASU researchers see similarities to the pandemic in New York

As Arizona and other parts of the country experience a surge in COVID-19 cases, epidemiologists are sharing recent trends involving the spread of the disease.

In Arizona, Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute has been tracking information on the rate the virus is growing, as well as the number of hospital beds available. According to the data, the virus is spreading quickly in Arizona.

"Day over day, the rate of increase is growing very quickly in Arizona," said Dr. Joshua LaBaer, Executive Director of the ASU Biodesign Institute. "That is an area of concern. We need to turn that around."

Dr. LaBaer has been crunching the numbers for COVID-19 cases in Arizona, what that means. He says the rate at which Arizona is currently trending is similar to what New York was experiencing when it was accelerating in its growth.

In his studies, Dr. LaBaer finds increased numbers all over the state.

"If you look at the accelerations in the counties in the State of Arizona, just about all of them are showing trends of accelerated case numbers," said Dr. LaBaer.

In his research, Dr. LaBaer finds that the age range of increasing case counts is between 20 and 44.

"If you test more people, you are going to find more cases. That is the purpose of testing," said Dr. LaBaer. "But as we do that, we are seeing the percentage of tests we do that are positive are up. Positive cases are going up."

On top of all this, Dr. LaBaer's data shows the number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is rising. He says the state is approaching 60,000 cases, which is less than 1% of people.

"If just a few percent are infected, it's already challenging the hospital system. Even if that were to double, that would be a serious impact. The last thing we want to happen is what happened in New York," said Dr. LaBaer.

Dr. LaBaer says cases of the virus are doubling every nine days in Arizona, in terms of the rate of change.