Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona reached 1,563,193 on Friday, Jan. 14, an increase of 20,257 from the previous day, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. That marks the first time since the start of the pandemic that the increase in new daily COVID-19 cases in Arizona surpassed 20,000.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 cases in Arizona stands at 25,068 after 66 new deaths were reported.
“That’s a lot of deaths and deaths are hard to be mistaken about,” said Dr. Joshua LaBaer, executive director of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute. “A death is a death, there’s no misdiagnosis there.”
The surging COVID-19 numbers are a change from 2020, when the virus was the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
LaBaer said that while it does not surprise him that COVID-19 could be the leading cause of death in the state, he is surprised by the number of deaths that occurred after the roll-out of vaccines early this year. COVID-19 killed more than 42 people a day on average in 2021, up from a daily average of just under 26 a day in 2020.
“It’s always difficult to predict,” LaBaer said. “I thought that with all the people vaccinated and people taking boosters that we wouldn’t be seeing a wave like we are.”
But with continued vaccine hesitancy and the emergence of new variants, other health experts predict the virus will be around for at least a third calendar year and will continue to take the lives of many.
“Until we get enough people in our country vaccinated so that we break the cycle of circulation and infection, we’re going to continue to have it,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.
Cronkite News has been tracking the progress of the disease since the first case was reported in the state in late January 2020. This chart, which looks at new cases and deaths reported by the Arizona Department of Health Services, is updated daily.
COVID-19 is a serious disease that can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. ADHS advises everyone to take precautions:
The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Wear a mask when you are in close proximity to other people.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. For people with mild illness, individuals are asked to stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and get rest. For people with more severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, individuals are advised to seek healthcare.
ADHS activated its Health Emergency Operations Center on January 27th after the first case of travel-associated COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona. The Health Emergency Operations Center remains open to coordinate the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information about the COVID-19 response in Arizona, go online to azhealth.gov/COVID19.