Researcher: Arizona's COVID-19 cases are 'plateauing' due to mask mandates, physical distancing

More positive news is coming out of the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute regarding the coronavirus and its declining numbers in the state.

Researchers say Arizona is doing better than it was when it comes to the virus spread and we are starting to stabilize.

"It is certainly better than it was," says Dr. Joshua Labaer, executive director of the institute.

He's been tracking the data in the state and says the cases of COVID-19 are plateauing.

"We haven't reversed the trends but I do feel confident in saying we have stabilized at a plateau that is encouraging," Labaer explained.

This proves the measures that have been taken to stop the spread, including mask mandates, maintaining social distancing, closing bars and limiting large gatherings, are doing their part, he said.

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"There is no question in my mind they are working," Labaer added.

Patient numbers are down as well as ICU bed capacity from the 90% we were seeing most recently as July 13. The state is now at 86%.

These are all good signs of things moving in the right direction, but Labaer says this is still not sustainable long term.

"We have plateaued but we have plateaued 10 fold higher numbers per day than when we plateaued months ago," Labaer said.

Instead of hundreds of cases in our last plateau, we are now seeing thousands of new cases.

He says this is not the time to let up the efforts to stop the spread.

"We need to keep what we are doing in place. We need to find ways to keep the economy going with these practices that are clearly working," Labaer said, adding, "If we let up now, it will go right where it did before and rise again but starting from a higher rate of new cases so I would keep the pressure on."

Labaer says what we want to see next is not just a plateau, but see a reduction and a deceleration.