Open letter to Gov. Doug Ducey: Extending executive orders past April 30th would be a violation of Arizona law

I sent the following today through the governor’s official contact email. If you live in AZ, please join me:

Dear Governor,

It has now become clear that AZ statute A.R.S. 36-787, which you invoked to justify the Coronavirus state of emergency, and several executive orders, is no longer applicable to the Coronavirus situation in Arizona.

The pertinent criteria of the statute states that the enumerated powers are contingent on an emergency “in which there is an occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition caused by bioterrorism, an epidemic or pandemic disease or a highly fatal infectious agent or biological toxin and that poses a substantial risk of a significant number of human fatalities or incidents of permanent or long-term disability.”

The data currently available on your website clearly show that these conditions no longer exist, and that the Executive Order 2020-18, and several others, cannot lawfully be extended past the April 30th expiration. Any extension would be in violation of stipulations of the statute. Hospital utilization and the number of serious/critical cases is so low, every major hospital in Arizona has announced layoffs and pay cuts. The death rate is low, and certainly nowhere near “a significant number of human fatalities” (249 deaths in a state of 8 million people).

This data is backed up by Dr. Cara Christ, Director of AZDHS and the senior medical official in the state, in her blog post yesterday at She laid out in clear terms that all the models were grossly overstated, the hospitals are empty, and the curve is flattened. The sheer magnitude of threat reduction is best captured in this passage:

“Using Arizona-specific population data and modeling formulas from Harvard, the team at the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), developed our initial Arizona projection looking at the anticipated need for inpatient and intensive care unit (ICU) beds required to treat COVID-19 patients. Based on that initial modeling, an estimated 13,000 additional inpatient beds and an additional 1500 ICU beds would be needed to care for Arizonans with COVID-19… As of today, April 22,  this model forecasts that Arizona has already passed our peak of resource utilization and only requires 424 inpatient beds, 103 ICU beds, and 92 ventilators. This is well under our available resources and current hospital capacity.”

Governor, please issue a press release. Call a press conference. The state of emergency is over, in accordance with A.R.S. 36-787. Cancel the executive orders. We need to get our lives back. So much unemployment, and small businesses crushed. There is no Coronavirus threat. We need to OPEN. AZ can be a model for other states as we build herd immunity and get past this ordeal.

Thank you.

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