HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson tours Opportunity Zone in Phoenix, talks about response to COVID-19

Lives are being changed in this once distressed neighborhood near Roosevelt and 17th Street at the Aeroterra Envision Center.

"That's the idea. Bring together all of these different services, not only local services, but federal services," said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson. "So they should be able to climb the ladder of opportunity and that's what it's all about. Empower people, make people self-sufficient rather than the old model where the government helps people to just maintain. And I'm not criticizing. I'm saying time to take the next step."

This is a designated opportunity zone, a win for this Phoenix neighborhood and a win for private investors who keep their money here for at least five years.

"There are thousands of opportunity zones across the country. We're in the process of actually expanding them because it's been so successful," said Carson.

I asked Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, about making masks mandatory and about the big increases in COVID-19 cases in Arizona.

"25 to 50% of people are asymptomatic they don't even know they have it.. life's going on normally," he replied. "So if we find a lot of those people by testing, that can cause a great alarm or you could say OK, are they sick? Are they dying? iI that answer is no, then I think there's less cause for alarm."

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

Carson went on to say that a mandate on masks may not be the right way to go.

"This is America and the whole concept of telling people what they must do probably doesn't fly that well here like it would in some other places of the world. So I think it's really a matter of persuading people that when you were a mask it's not to protect you, it's to protect other people."

Dr. Carson urges everyone to keep washing their hands and wear masks while in close quarters with others.


Aeroterra Community Center -

EnVision Centers -

Continuing Coverage

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.


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