Valley doctor hoping for gradual pace in reopening of society following COVID-19 pandemic

For some people, the reopening of Arizona can't come soon enough.

Since 5:00 p.m. on March 31, Arizona has been under a stay-at-home order that was issued by Governor Doug Ducey.

According to the executive order, the stay-at-home order, officially titled as a "Stay home, Stay healthy, Stay connected" policy, asks Arizonans to limited their time away from their home. The executive order has listed a number of activities that are exempt from the order.

It's been weeks since the order went into effect, and many are eager to get back to business as usual. In fact, several protests have been place over the weekend to urge Gov. Ducey to reopen the state.

Meanwhile, Arizona's road to normalcy may resemble a roller coaster ride, and the state is about 10 days away from reaching the top.

"The peak is when we will be using the most hospital resources," said Dr. Frank Lovecchio.

Even after the state reached the peak, in terms of the current COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 won’t go away.

"It’s not an on/off switch. It’s more of a dimmer," said Dr. Lovecchio. "This is going to go away and come back until we all get vaccinated or have had the disease."

President Donald Trump has called for reopening states in stages, starting after a 14-day drop in cases.

Dr. Lovecchio hopes politicians take it slow and that people take it easy, as the lack of widespread testing means much of the virus is lurking in the dark.

"We hope with antibody testing and more accurate virus testing that we will get there," said Dr. Lovecchio. "We’re not there quite yet."

The COVID-19 roller coaster ride will likely continue for more than a year, with smaller peaks and valleys, until the ride finally comes to a stop, either with a vaccine or when we reach what’s called herd immunity.

"The herd immunity magic number for something like measles is over 95% to 99% of people around you don’t get it. For this. it's closer to 50% or 60% of people around you that you’ll be protected," said Dr. Lovecchio.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - How it spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ (In Spanish/En Español)

Arizona COVID-19 Response - Public resources, FAQ, webinars (In Spanish/En Español)

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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