PHOENIX - A Harvard University epidemiologist has been crunching the numbers of COVID-19 cases since this pandemic began. Now, he's taking a harder look at the rise in cases in Arizona.
Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding says Arizona holds new records for cases, positivity percentages, hospitalizations and ICU beds in use.
"Arizona is the currently the worst off," Feigl-Ding said, adding, "In terms of a per capita basis, on a 7-day average, Arizona has 212 cases per million population and Arizona ranks number one.”
On Twitter Tuesday night, he posted a number of graphs showing COVID-19 cases in Arizona, sparking a conversation about the state's residents and leaders.
He says the numbers in the state are now exceeding Brazil and Peru, and he's expecting the state to be one of the hardest-hit regions in the world. The state's numbers are exceeding all European countries as well, Feigl-Ding said.
"So all the terrible things you heard about Lombardi, Italy, Arizona per capita has surpassed Lombardi, Italy. That is where I became worried yesterday," he said.
These numbers are not due to increased testing in the state, he explained, saying, “The rise in cases is outstripping the rise in testing and you can see that in positivity percentage.”
The reason for these numbers, he says, is because Arizona has opened up quickly and many in the state are not following social distancing guidelines or wearing masks.
Feigl-Ding is sending a message to Governor Doug Ducey.
"Advocate for everyone to wear masks. Use his government to create mandates for public venues," he said.
On Wednesday, Ducey announced in the news conference that local governments will be given the power to create mask mandates and allow for enforcement.
Feigl-Ding says it's important to realize that while many will recover from COVID-19, there will be many injuries to your body, including long term damage to lungs and blood clots.