/ Modified jan 11, 2021 9:49 p.m.

News roundup: Vaccine rollout reaches next phase, Ducey discusses pandemic, education and tax cuts

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Jan. 11.

Arizona COVID-19 cases: 7 days

Map shows COVID-19 cases and case rates over the week preceding the last update.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, Census Bureau. Case reports do not correspond to day of test.

Cases 627,541 | Deaths 10,147

On Monday, Jan. 11, Arizona reported 8,995 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths. About 2% of Arizonans have received their first dose of the vaccine so far. Between 65-70% of the population must receive the vaccine in order to build herd immunity.

Gov. Ducey touts pandemic response, promises focus on education and tax cuts in annual address


This year's Arizona state of the state address took place in the shadows of two dramatically troubling events - the resurgence and continued record growth of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Arizona and last week's assault on the U.S. Capitol by people bent on forcing Congress to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Before addressing the pandemic, on Monday Gov. Doug Ducey took a few moments to address the assault on the Capitol which he referred to as "sickening."

The governor then turned to the coronavirus pandemic. He did not mention Arizona's renewed status as the top state in the nation with the worst COVID-19 infection rate, but he acknowledged that the danger was great.

The governor also said the pandemic had done severe damage to the state's ability to educate its youth. He called for a serious discussion about focusing resources on turning things around.

Learn more here.

Half of Arizona counties move to phase 1B for vaccines


Seven of Arizona’s 15 counties have moved into Phase 1B for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Arizona Department of Health Services web page says Phase 1B includes education and childcare workers, protective services occupations, adults over the age of 75, essential serve and critical industry workers, and adults with high-risk conditions living in congregate facilities.

According to AZDHS, 2.04% of the state has received the first dose of the vaccine. In Pima County, that number is a full percentage point higher. Pima County officials expect the county to enter Phase 1B by the end of the week.

Learn more here.

UA to start vaccinations Jan. 22


The University of Arizona will start giving vaccines on Jan. 22, according to university officials.

The university will be the primary site in Pima County for K-12 teachers and staff, Pima Community College employees, and UA employees to get their vaccines.

“All the employees at the University of Arizona are going to be included in that 1B category and we very much look forward to getting as many people vaccinated as fast as we possibly can,” said Robert Robbins, University of Arizona President.

Learn more here.

UA researchers receive grant to build new space telescope


University of Arizona scientists are getting ready to build a new orbiting space telescope.

NASA informed the team earlier this month that their project was chosen for one of the space program's four Astrophysics Pioneers missions. The group will receive 20 million dollars in NASA funding to construct the telescope at UA.

Principal investigator Carlos Vargas says the telescope, called Aspera, is designed to reveal the characteristics of gases between galaxies.

Learn more here.

Arizona readies stadium as vaccination site as cases mount


PHOENIX — COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona reached another new high as the state ramps up its vaccine efforts, including turning an NFL stadium into an around the clock vaccination site.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported Monday that a record 4,997 people were hospitalized because of the virus. Among them, more than 1,100 were in intensive care units.

Those numbers are significantly above what the state now considered a hotspot experienced during its last surge in July.

Health officials say there are nearly 9,000 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths. This now brings Arizona's totals to 627,541 cases and 10,147 deaths.

Learn more here.

Biden Urged To Quickly End ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program That ‘Needlessly’ Harms Migrants

Fronteras Desk

In a new report, research and advocacy group Human Rights Watch describes the dangers and trauma migrants are exposed to under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. The group is encouraging President-elect Joe Biden to immediately end the program once in office.

The report says asylum seekers, including infants and children, have been exposed to violence, abduction and rape while awaiting U.S. court hearings in Mexican border cities. And it urges Biden to quickly follow through with promises to end the program.

The president-elect, however, has suggested he will roll back the policy more slowly, citing concerns that changes could spur more migrant arrivals at the border.

Learn more here.

Phoenix to honor late civil rights icon Calvin C. Goode


PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers, Phoenix residents and members of the Black community will celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Calvin C. Goode. He died on Dec. 23 from an illness not related to COVID-19. He was 93.

A virtual memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday. A public, open casket viewing over the weekend preceded this week's scheduled funeral.

Politicians and city leaders reflected on the work Goode did during 22 years on the City Council.

Goode was a Phoenix resident, a city servant and a leader in the church. He was also instrumental in pushing the city to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday before the state.

Learn more here.

US ramps up vaccinations to get doses to more Americans


The U.S. is entering the second month of the biggest vaccination effort in history with a major expansion of the campaign, opening football stadiums, major league ballparks, fairgrounds and convention centers to inoculate a larger and more diverse pool of people.

After a frustratingly slow rollout involving primarily health care workers and nursing home residents, states are moving on to the next phase before the first one is complete. They are making shots available to such groups as senior citizens, teachers, bus drivers, police officers, firefighters and people with underlying medical conditions.

Learn more here.

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