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A Look at Covid-19 – March

Each month we will look at a cross section of reports from around the world and locally which offers a snapshot of the pandemic. 

Pandemic by the Numbers

“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded, and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected. We have a simple message for all countries: Test, test, test.” (World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus)

World View

As of March 31 the world had 845,720 confirmed cases, 41,437 deaths.

On March 26, the global number of confirmed cases passed 500,000.

One-third of the world’s population is in lockdown. “An estimated 1.7 billion people have been ordered to remain at home as governments take extreme measures to protect their populations.” (Guardian, March 30)

Hotspots include Spain, France, and Italy. Japan is warning of an imminent explosion in cases.

I call it Matilda’s Law. My mother’s name is Matilda. Everybody’s mother, father, sister, friend in a vulnerable population—this is about protecting them. What you do highly, highly affects their health and wellbeing.” (New York Governor Andrew Cuomo)

USA View

As of March 31, the United States had 180,789 confirmed cases, 3,580 deaths.

On March 26, the number of deaths in the USA passed 1,000, and on the same day, the USA became the country with the largest number of cases: 83,507. On March 28, the number of deaths passed 2,000. On March 30, the number passed 2,978, exceeding the number of persons killed on September 11. The U.S. is now the worst-affected country in the world.

“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded, and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected. We have a simple message for all countries: Test, test, test.” (World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus)

The hotspots in March were New York City, Detroit, Chicago, and New Orleans. Orleans Parish in Louisiana had the highest per-capita coronavirus death rate of American counties. But rural counties that receive high amounts of tourism are also becoming hotspots, including Blaine County, Idaho; Summit County, Utah; and Eagle County and Gunnison County, Colorado.

At least 30 states have stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders in effect, covering some 250 million Americans – about 75% of the population.

As of March 29, the federal government is weighing rolling back guidelines on social distancing in areas that have not been as hard-hit by the outbreak, after a nationwide 15-day effort to slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated on CNN’s “State of the Union,” predicted the United States would see between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from COVID-19. He said, “We’re going to have millions of cases,” but added, “I don’t want to be held to that,” because the pandemic is “such a moving target.” 


As of March 31, Arizona had 1,289 confirmed cases and 24 deaths.


As of March 31, one case has been confirmed in Gila County. This case was confirmed on March 28. It is a 40-year old woman in Payson who was asymptomatic. This announcement means the county must now adhere to the governor’s declaration and requires that non-essential businesses close their doors.


World View

Many countries have established quarantine requirements for people entering the country or entry bans, either global bans or bans from hotspot regions. Commercial flights have been grounded in much of the world, and the reduction in air travel has devastated the airline industry. 

Due to the global slowdown in economic activity, economists are concerned that “the best economic outcome that anyone can hope for is a recession deeper than that following the 2008 financial crisis” (Project Syndicate, March 24). 

The economist Nouriel Roubini is warning of the risk for a “Greater Depression” because of the inadequate public health response, the potential for stagflation, and geopolitical shocks. (Business Insider, March 28) 

USA View

The Dow Jones index fell to a March low of 18,591 on the 23rd – a drop of 37% from its high of 29,551 on Feb. 12. It closed on March 31 at 21,983.

On March 27, Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill, the Coronavirus  Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to aid businesses and individuals. 

3.3 million people have applied for unemployment benefits. More than half of Americans have already had their work or pay cut because of the pandemic. (ABC News) 


March 4, Gov. Ducey obtained $500,000 in initial federal funding for Arizona’s COVID-19 response.

March 12, Gov. Ducey obtained an additional $12.4 million from the CDC, passed $55 million in state public health funding to address COVID-19, and met with school leaders.

March 25, Gov. Ducey announced $5.3 million for Meals on Wheels.

March 28, Gov. Ducey signed a stripped-down $11.8 billion budget that contains $50 million in spending for the state’s COVID-19 response, including funds for eviction assistance, small businesses, food banks, and the homeless. (AZ Cap Times)


Local SBDC appeared on Facebook to explain the Economic Investment Disaster Loan Program that was just approved for Arizona. 

March 18, the City of Globe issued an Emergency Proclamation to “ensure emergency procurement and economic recovery of Globe.”

March 26, the City of Globe moved to close all bars and movie theaters. Also, all restaurants and food service businesses were ordered to close on-site dining areas and move to drive-through.


World View

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed to July 2021. The torch relay and handover ceremony in Athens still took place, but without audiences. Association football has been put on ice everywhere except Belarus and Nicaragua. 

In Spain, people who are sheltering in place in city apartment buildings have been holding concerts and community workouts from their rooftops and balconies. In Italy, small-town mayors are becoming famous for viral videos of them exhorting people to go home and stay there. One shouts, “You are not Will Smith in I Am Legend! Go home!”

As of March 28, more than 1.7 billion students – nearly 90% of the world’s student population – were not going to school because their schools had closed.

Many churches have closed or have suspended services but are still open for prayer. Pope Francis is livestreaming daily masses from his home. On March 27, the Pope gave the Urbi et Orbi blessing, normally reserved for Christmas and Easter, from an empty St. Peter’s Square. During a prayer for the health of all the world, he used the crucifix from San Marcello al Corso that had processed through the streets of Rome during the miraculous plague cure of 1522. Saudi Arabia has closed the major mosques in Mecca and Medina, and Muslim leaders are asking people to stay at home for Friday prayers.

Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Placido Domingo, Prince Charles, John Prine, Boris Johnson, and Harvey Weinstein have all tested positive for the virus.

USA View

Donald Trump played down concerns about the coronavirus for two months, apparently more concerned about financial markets than the spread of the disease. The administration issued “guidelines” on March 16 that emphasized social distancing and good hygiene, while many states and localities were passing much more stringent measures. The guidelines were set to end after 15 days. On March 24, Trump tweeted that he would like to see the USA return to normal life by Easter (April 12). On March 30, Trump extended the guidelines until the end of April, after hearing warnings from America’s top health officials that the death toll from COVID-19 could reach 200,000, even with mitigation efforts. (


Residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have been ordered to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for two weeks.The Canadian and Mexican borders have been closed.

“Gosh knows we want the markets to succeed. That’s very important. Markets are not going to succeed unless we take care of people and we restore their health. Whether there is a cure or whether there’s behavior that reduces this tragedy in our country. But let us work together in the most bipartisan way possible to get the job done as soon as possible. It won’t happen unless we respect science, science, science. And for those who say we choose prayer over science, I say science is an answer to our prayers.” (Nancy Pelosi, March 26)

St. Patrick’s Day parades were cancelled in many cities – but Mardi Gras went on, and has apparently led to a hotspot in Louisiana. Many major conventions and conferences were also cancelled, including SXSW in Texas. The Emmy, Tony, and Country Music awards were suspended. Broadway shows have closed their doors. Zoos and aquariums across the country are closed, leading to a spate of delightful viral videos of animals being allowed to tour their own zoos.

Democratic primaries were postponed in many states. 

As of March 21, more than 118,000 public schools in the United States had closed, affecting nearly 54 million students; 46 states and Washington D.C. have implemented statewide school closures. Parents are homeschooling their children, often while also working from home. Some schools are continuing to offer free breakfasts and lunches during the crisis to help families that depend on school meals to have enough food for their children.

The NCAA cancelled winter championships and tournaments, including March Madness. MLB suspended spring training and postponed Opening Day. WrestleMania 36 took place without an audience and will be broadcast in April. Many other sports events have been cancelled or postponed, or are happening without live audiences. 

Many TV shows are being produced without a live audience or have been postponed or suspended. 

All the shelter dogs in New York City have been adopted out – pet owners are allowed to go out for more walks, so dogs have become a popular item.

While under lockdown, people are learning new skills, like ballet or braiding their hair, participating in worldwide book clubs, resurrecting 19th-century parlor games, and playing more online poker. Zoom has become the go-to platform for staying in touch with family and friends.


March 15, Gov. Ducey closed schools to address staffing shortages and partnered with Boys & Girls Club to ensure childcare.

March 16, Gov. Ducey issued new guidance on social distancing and recommended canceling or postponing gatherings or 10 or more people.

March 19, Gov. Ducey activated the Arizona National Guard to help at grocery stores and food banks. He also released new guidance requiring restaurants in Arizona counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases to provide dine-out options only, while closing bars, gyms and movie theaters, and obtained Small Business Administration disaster loans for local businesses.

On Friday, March 20, while many Arizona schools were on spring break, coaches were making hard decisions about whether to continue practices and meets. Meanwhile, “thousands of boys and girls [were] competing in a variety of sports as of Thursday afternoon.” (Azcentral 3/12)

March 20, Gov. Ducey extended school closures through April 10, expanded access to unemployment insurance, and extended the tax deadline to July 15.

March 22, Gov. Ducey launched a statewide 2-1-1 hotline for COVID-19.

March 23, Ducey issued an executive order prohibiting any county, city, or town in Arizona from issuing any order or regulation “restricting persons from leaving their home due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.” Ducey’s order prevented local municipalities from issuing shelter-in-place regulations. (Forbes 3/30)

March 24, Gov. Ducey launched the Arizona Together initiative to help Arizonans link to resources and information. He also launched Arizona Enrichment Centers to provide childcare for children of first responders, healthcare workers, and essential public sector workers. Ducey also issued an order delaying evictions for renters impacted by COVID-19.

March 26, Gov. Ducey announced an electric utility relief package so no one has their power shut off due to COVID-19.

March 27, Gov. Ducey announced $5 million in rental assistance for Arizonans and expansion of unemployment benefits. He also announced support for schools, teachers, and families to provide educational opportunities during the pandemic. All school employees will continue to be paid during the closures.

March 30, Gov. Ducey extended school closures to the end of the school year and announced an agreement with Arizona banks to prevent evictions and foreclosures. Ducey also issued a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order mandates that all Arizona residents stay in their homes with the exception of essential trips, such as trips to the pharmacy, grocery store, bank, or a medical facility. This stay-at-home order will be in effect from Tuesday, March 31, at 5 p.m. MST until April 30. Ducey issued the order after receiving pressure from mayors. But the list of “essential businesses” allowed to remain open is huge and includes golf courses and nail salons – leading many Arizonans to wonder how effective this “lockdown” will really be.

March 30, the AIA Executive Board announced that AIA sports at all levels are cancelled for the remainder of the school year.

Katie Hobbs, Secretary of State, designed a solution to allow voters to submit mail-in ballots by using a workaround developed in Michigan. It could work! (AZ Central, March 26)  

“And it hit the world. And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” (Donald Trump, March 10. The Trump Administration fired the U.S. pandemic response team in 2018 to cut costs.)

One Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after they ingested chloroquine phosphate, a chemical used to clean fish tanks that is also found in an anti-malaria medication. Donald Trump falsely stated in a news conference that the FDA had approved the use of chloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. (Guardian, March 24)


March 15, State School Superintendent Kathy Hoffman closed all schools until March 26. The Governor’s office later extended the closure to April 10 and then to the end of the school year. Schools are making plans to move classes online.

March 16, the AIA canceled all school sports activities through March 28. The cancellation was later extended to the end of the school year.

March 21, Superior’s Farm-to-Fantastic Farmers Market moved to pre-orders and new protocols for selling produce, to make sure residents continue to have access to fresh produce. See the farmers market’s Facebook page. 

March 26, the San Carlos Tribe banned religious gatherings, including Sunrise dances, and limited commercial travel on Highway 70 within their boundaries.

As of March 28, all gyms are closed. All restaurants outside of Globe, which had remained open, must now close as well per the Governor’s order. City offices, including City Hall, the Water Office, and City Court remain open. City parks and hiking trails remain open. 


World View

Stories have come out of China, Italy, Spain, France, and the United States of nurses, doctors, and hospital administrators becoming infected and dying, as shortages of personal protective equipment plague hospitals around the world. In Spain, 14% of confirmed cases are medical professionals.

USA View

Because women make up a large proportion of healthcare workers, and many have had to stay home to care for their children, healthcare facilities have been left understaffed during the crisis. 

Hospitals in hotspots are facing severe shortages in PPEs, ICU beds, and ventilators. States are competing against one another to purchase ventilators, amid a lack of federal coordination. Volunteers are sewing masks and making ventilator valves on 3D printers. In some hospitals, healthcare workers are using garbage bags as personal protective equipment. But some healthcare workers are being disciplined for wearing masks, because hospitals fear they might scare patients away. Medical professionals are discussing the ethical issues around rationing care due to the shortages of hospital beds and ventilators. (New York Times, March 31) 

“So this virus we think can spread with a lot of asymptomatic and mild cases. And it’s not until it gets into the vulnerable groups that you start to see the hospitalizations. So if you wait for that – if the metros and the rural areas don’t take care now, by the time you see it, it has penetrated your community pretty significantly. And that’s what we’re concerned about. And that’s why you have to prepare. Even though you think it’s not there.” (Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator, March 30)

Local companies are stepping up to manufacture ventilators in the face of federal inaction. BreathDirect is one, who estimates they will be producing 40,000 per month by June. (ThomsonReutersFoundationNews, March 28)

Abbott received approval for a test that can detect coronavirus in five minutes. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that the company plans to supply 50,000 tests per day beginning April 1.


March 2, Arizona’s state lab started testing for COVID-19.

March 11, Gov. Ducey declared a public health emergency and issued an executive order to protect high-risk populations and ensure care.

March 21, Gov. Ducey arranged for medical personal protective equipment to be shipped to Arizona county health departments from the National Strategic Stockpile.

March 25, Gov. Ducey signed legislation to increase AHCCCS provider rates in order to increase resources for Arizona hospitals.

March 26, Gov. Ducey issued an executive order to expand hospital capacity by 50% and changed licensing requirements so that professionals don’t lose their licenses during the pandemic.

March 28, Wendy Smith-Reeve resigned as Director of Arizona’s Department of Emergency Management after 24 years of service. 


With masks in short supply, a local effort to sew masks ballooned into a massive DIY manufacturing effort involving a dozen-plus crafters, including Holly Brantley, Bunney Keesler, LeeAnn Powers, and others. Masks are made as backups for hospital workers, but are in high demand by front-line workers and local businesses. 


Bunney Kessler at work on masks for CVRMC. FB Photo.



See Facebook:  500 Masks for CVRMC. 

UPDATE:  The community group of sewers recently completed the 500 masks for CVRMC and are now on to meeting additional requests from Heritage Healthcare and San Carlos Apache Healthcare.   If you want to help, but don’t sew, there is still plenty of options: cutting out the patterns, getting supplies to sewers etc. So please check out the site if you can pitch in! 









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