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Local opinion: Action is needed on local level to mitigate economic fallout from pandemic
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Local opinion: Action is needed on local level to mitigate economic fallout from pandemic

We need a county-wide lockdown to stop coronavirus spread

  • Updated

The following is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

We are collectively facing a catastrophe of our own making if we don’t immediately get a grip on the spread of COVID-19.

It is clear that we can expect little help from the federal or state authorities, who have largely abdicated responsibility.

The impact of the UA not being able to open would be devastating not only to the university but to Tucson. The university is the largest employer in Tucson and brings countless people (and dollars) to the city throughout the year.

If the UA cannot open, students cannot come to campus and the budget then falls into a $250 million hole, and layoffs of a previously unimaginable scale begin. The impact of all this on Tucson and Pima County cannot be overstated.

UA President Robert Robbins and his team are trying their best to put on a good face and plan for the one scenario that might save the day. Their efforts to create a safe environment for students were always a long shot, but now face enormous odds as the case counts explode.

The evidence is clear, pretty much throughout the world. Disciplined responses to COVID can beat the worst back, bringing virus spread to a level that can be managed until a vaccine becomes available. This has been done in countries rich and poor, by firm leadership that takes the politics out of dealing with a pandemic.

It is hard not to conclude that our leadership has failed us monumentally, and that we are going to have to act locally to save ourselves.

Tucson is a largely tolerant and intelligent community, but we are not doing enough. We need another lockdown that is near-total, and that doesn’t get reversed until we have 14 days with decreasing case counts.

And we should close the county borders, including with Maricopa County, if we have to.

Things are going to get worse unless and until we get deadly serious. So far as a country we have failed miserably, and given the political climate that failure is almost certain to be extended until November. But we don’t need to fail here in Tucson.

Please stay home except for essential reasons. Please wear masks whenever you might contact people you aren’t living with. Please insist that any shops you frequent enforce the mask-wearing edict. If we can do this quickly, we might be able to turn things around even now.

And please vote in November. Re-elect those leaders who have served us well during this crisis, and send packing those who have failed.

Lynn Nadel is a professor emeritus of cognitive science and psychology at the University of Arizona.

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