Doug Ducey receives mixed reactions
PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has received good and bad marks for his response to the coronavirus crisis.
In early August, Ducey received positive remarks from President Donald Trump for his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"You've done a fantastic job. We're very proud of you. We love the people of Arizona, and they are very proud of the job you've done also, Doug," Trump said.
Weeks earlier, Ducey was bashed as Arizona hospital beds began filling with infected patients and hundreds of people began dying each week.
Ducey took the early prevention by shutting down much of the state's economy and invoking a stay-home order in March.
He reopened the economy in May with little to no demand of new rules like limits on bar capacity.
Bars and nightclubs in Tucson and metro Phoenix were packed the weekend after the lockdown was lifted.
10 days later, a flow of new infections hit the state and Arizona hospitals were packed with the sick within weeks.
By June, Arizona had confirmed more than 20,000 virus cases and 917 deaths. The numbers continued rising over the summer, with cases topping 200,000 in late August, and deaths surpassing 5,000.
Some believe Ducey reopened early because Trump made a visit to Phoenix in early May. Ducey's decision came under criticism.
Regina Romero, the Democratic mayor of Tucson, was one of the people criticizing Ducey.
"It wasn't phased in- it was just 'boom open it all up'- timed to when Trump came to Arizona. And I felt very strongly that it was too soon, that it was timed for political purposes and not based on science and public health," Romero said.
Kristin Urquiza made local and national headlines when she blamed Ducey for the death of her 65-year-old father, Mark Anthony Urquiza of Phoenix, who died of the virus on June 30.
She said her father was taking virus prevention steps until Arizona's reopening, when he resumed his normal life and headed to a karaoke bar with friends only to get infected.
"His life was robbed. I believe that terrible leadership and flawed policies put my father's life in the balance," Urquiza said in July ahead of her appearance at the Democratic National Convention, where she criticized Trump.
Ducey has brushed off the criticism, repeatedly saying that his decisions are informed by science and data from health experts.
But Ducey simultaneously ignored advice from health officials outside his administration. Just seven days after his stay-home order ended on May 15, the president of the Arizona Medical Association physicians group sent Ducey a letter urging him to crack down on bars and nightclubs that weren't applying social distancing guidelines.
"Now, there is clear proof of overcrowded bars, people elbow to elbow, increasing significant risk of potential spread and a resurgence of the virus," Dr. Ross Goldberg wrote in a May 22 letter obtained from Ducey's office by the Associated Press under a public records request.
Goldberg in his letter urged Ducey to take enforcement action, but it did not happen.
In total, Arizona has now seen 208,512 positive cases of COVID-19 and a death toll of 5,322.