The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona jumped over 58,000
as of Tuesday, June 23, after the state reported 3,591 new cases this morning, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Pima County had 6,089 of the state's 58,179 confirmed cases.
A total of 1,384 people have died after contracting the virus, including 247 in Pima County.
Maricopa County has more than half the state's cases, with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases hitting 33,883.
Arizona hospitals continue to see a steady rise in the number of people hospitalized with COVID symptoms, as well as more people visiting emergency rooms. This morning's Arizona Department of Health Services report shows that as of yesterday, a record 2,136 Arizonans were hospitalized, more than double the 1,009 hospitalized on June 1. A daily total of 1,228 arrived at emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms on June 22. Previous to June, the number of people seeking help in emergency rooms never topped 667. The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds hit a new record of 614 yesterday.
If you're out in public in Pima County, you're now expected to wear masks or face coverings if you're older than 5. The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 along party lines to require face masks on Friday, June 19. Likewise, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero issued a proclamation that requires face masks and includes a $50 penalty for those who don't mask up, although she said authorities would first try to educate those who don't wear masks and would resort to fines only for report offenders. There are exceptions for those who can't wear mask for medical reasons.
President Donald Trump is traveling to Arizona today to visit a border wall project in Yuma and a rally in a Phoenix megachurch. Leaders of the 3,000-seat church told the public Sunday in a video that has since been removed that there was no danger of catching the coronavirus because they had a special system that kills the virus. Ray Stern of Phoenix New Times reports:
"We've installed Clean Air EXP," Zastrow says. "We have a local Arizona company. It was a technology developed by some members of our church. And we've installed these units. And it kills 99 percent of COVID within 10 minutes."
The system achieves this bit of magic with air "ionization," a word that the pair mangle as they try to pronounce it.
"So when you come into our auditorium, 99 percent of COVID is gone," Barnett says. "So you can know when you come down here, you'll be safe and protected."
At least one expert in pathology is not buying the church's claim:
Dr. Philip Tierno, a clinical professor of pathology at New York University, told Business Insider that "ions produce a chemical reaction on the cell membrane surface that inactivates the virus... It can reduce 99.9% of microbes in a matter of minutes."
Reached by New Times, Dr. Tierno said the concept has to be put into context, and that no system can protect someone against an infected person sneezing in the seat next to them.
"The short answer to your question is NO, you will ABSOLUTELY NOT BE SAFE AND PROTECTED. When you are dealing with hundreds or thousands of people in an AUDITORIUM, some of whom will carry the virus you WILL NOT BE absolutely PROTECTED," Dr. Tierno, using all-caps to help make his points, wrote in an email.