/ Modified apr 17, 2021 8:04 a.m.

COVID variants, mask studies, Sun Tran services

Plus, an update on key events at the Arizona Legislature.

Like the rest of the country, distribution of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is on pause as the CDC and FDA look into reports that a handful of recipients developed blood clots. That revelation kicked off our discussion with Joshua LaBaer, executive director of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute. LaBaer also discussed the institute’s recent discovery of a variant of the disease that developed in the state and the ongoing spread of the variant that emerged from the United Kingdom.

The issue of mask, the ability to choose whether or not to wear one and how those choices affect others have captured the attention of sociologists at the University of Arizona. We heard from UA School of Sociology Associate Professor Jim Shockey who analyzed national data that tracked how people have behaved during the pandemic and how their ideologies factor into their decisions.

As masking up goes from being a rule to a recommendation results can vary. Arizona 360 heard firsthand from residents across Pima County about what drives whether or not they decide to wear a mask.

Businesses that require masks often include grocery stores. But customers don’t always follow the rules, putting employees at risk of exposure unless they act as enforcers. UA School of Sociology Associate Professor Brian Mayer was part of a team that surveyed workers about their concerns on the job and discussed their responses.

At different times the pandemic put the brakes on a variety of services, but not Tucson’s public transportation system. Sun Tran kept operations going with some adjustments. Tony Paniagua reports on how Sun Tran continued to serve passengers and overcome financial setbacks.

This week Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that legalizes sports betting in the state. It’s just one dozens of bills signed into law this legislative session. We checked in with Arizona Capitol Times reporter Julia Shumway to discuss recent events at the Legislature.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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