COVID19 Public Policy Decisions

Should we Shelter in Place,   Hopeful Social Distancing,  or Do Nothing? 

I believe we need to call for a state-wide policy of Shelter in Place.  

Gov. Ducey's latest Executive Order, yesterday, uses the slogan, "Stay home; stay healthy; stay connected."  Click for details.

     Schools will stay closed for the rest of this school year.  The order urges people to stay home except for essential services.  The list of essential services is broad, and apparently seems to include hair salons and nail salons.  I do not see the reason for that.  The list of businesses that are "essential" includes golf courses, too.  There is value in physical exercise, which can be found on a golf course, but at least one golf employee has shared his concerns about workers' safety there.  

Do the right thing.   Stay home.  Get along without a haircut or a manicure for a while.  Every time one person interacts with another it is an opportunity for the disease to spread, and this disease is highly contagious, very painful, and deadly.   People of all ages have died from COVID-19.    

If the "Stay Home"  policy is hard on you financially,  click here for many supports from federal and state governments.  If those are not enough, and you want to tell me about your situation, please do. Call my office,  602-926-4870.   


Many people have shared information with me and I am sharing it further here.  If you see it here, then you know I have seen it, and thank you!  

My primary sources of information are the Johns Hopkins website,  CDC, WHO, and AZ Department of Health Services,  ADHS.  
For links to those websites,  See this page:  COVID-19 Resources click here.  

The following resources are shaping my position favoring more actively stopping the spread.  #FlattenTheCurve  


1.    COVID ACT NOW .org  Click for latest update
Projections by State - With poor compliance, Arizona's hospitals could be overloaded by May 2nd.    *or soonerCOVID_Act_Now_screencap.JPG

With current "Social Distancing" policies,  by May 26th we'll need over 63,000 hospital beds but we'll have under 10,000. 
     My Take:   We must comply with the "Stay at Home" policy.  I am concerned because the graphs in this website are based on incomplete data from Arizona.   Arizona only just started reporting the number of tests done by private labs March 25th.   We need to heed these warnings and plan for more hospitalizations. 
      Arizona is still not testing many, many people who probably do have COVID-19.  Doctors are being told to ration the tests so that Arizona has them for those who are the most sick.  Those with the basic symptoms, but not severe symptoms are being sent home to self-quarantine, without being tested.  
Those cases that have been sent home might or might not be included in this modeling.  I'm waiting to hear from Kreiss-Tomkins.  
     Credibility:  Based on the email I received from Alaska Legislator, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, March 20th, his team of epidemiologists and data scientists developed  models used for Alaska. They expanded the models for all 50 states and published it on the Covid Act Now website.  The endorsements are largely from politicians.  A friend of mine who is a physics professor at ASU tells me that the math behind the website is valid.  


2.   Imperial College Report 

The model in the  website (above)  uses research in this report.  Covid_Imperial_College_report_graph.JPG

It studies 2 options to reduce the impacts of COVID-19.  

1- Mitigation:  Quarantine those who are most vulnerable to the disease, and practice social distancing in an informal approach. 

2- Suppression:  Quarantine  those who are most vulnerable and all positive cases;  Close schools and social distancing applies to everybody except vitally-needed services such as healthcare workers.  (Gov. Ducey's list of "essential businesses"  includes those that he thinks can operate safely and keep at safe distances. ) 


  Mitigation = informal social distancing Suppression =
"Shelter in Place"
Arizona deaths -just from COVID19 98,000 1,000
People infected in Arizona 65% < 1%


3.   91-DIVOC

Let's flip the script on COVID-19 and build fantastic things!

Click here for Graphs that show Cases Per Population,  Per State

This graph tracks the number of cases in Arizona per population,  so that it can be compared to other states. 
Keep in mind that Arizona is not testing nearly as many people as other states,  so it's still not an apples to apples comparison,  but it's something. 

Balloon Litter Bill for 2020

Local Girl Scouts push to make Balloon Litter outdoors illegal.
Consequence: No fines; just pick up litter.
It's about the drastic decline of birds, and balloons harm farm animals too.
If you release balloons indoors, it's okay because the litter can be picked up.
I'll drop the bill Fri.

"Animals are awesome and we shouldn’t live in a world without animals.” - Scout Amber who wrote me a letter that started this bill.

She and all the girls in her troop are great advocates for a healthy environment.
😓We have also learned that for people with severe allergies to latex, balloons are a danger-- even in the air near an allergic person.

🐦🦅🦆🐦You've heard about the drastic loss of birds. In North America, bird populations have declined by nearly 30% since 1970. Balloons are the most lethal kind of plastic that birds consume.
🐄🐃🐂Birds - like turtles, big horn sheep, and cattle-- think the balloon litter is food. They eat them or get tangled in the strings  


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Gun Violence Prevention - has 2 parts

Gun violence prevention requires both action for gun safety and action for the people who use gunsMHA_Award_ME_and_Debbie_Plotnik_2019-0806.jpg

Action for gun safety must include background checks, careful red flag laws, more gun safety classes,  and more. (See below) 

Action for the people who use guns is about behavioral changes.  We want to stop people from being violent.  Full stop.  Whether they use guns, sticks, knives  or any other deadly weapon, we can do more to stop their violent intentions.  Teaching coping skills and healthy relationship skills to high school students probably will not stop homicides by drug cartels, but it certainly can reduce domestic violence.  
Preventing suicides -- by firearm or any method --  can be improved with better access to mental health and substance use treatment. 

  I've just returned from the NCSL Summit, National Conference of State Legislatures 2019 convention, where I've learned some useful approaches.  


At the event, I was honored by Mental Health America as a Champion for Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment.  It is recognition of the work that Neighbors Council and I have done to prevent suicide and improve access to mental health treatment in Arizona.  Currently we are working on a big project to improve access to counselors, psychologists and all forms of mental health and behavioral health treatment.  

You can help!  We are gathering stories to develop data about the problems of access to care in Arizona.  

Have you,  or do you know somebody who was denied treatment or who cannot find a provider?   Please CLICK HERE to help.  You will be anonymous on the survey. 

The Arizona Connection to Mass Shootings:
In El Paso, Madison McGuire was a little girl who was at that Walmart selling juice as a fundraiser so her soccer team could come to Arizona for a tournament.  Her teammates and ...

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Girl Scouts' Balloon Bill Raises Environmental Awareness but Angers the GOP

Brownies' project provokes GOP leader attack

Ahwatukee Foothill News
By Paul Maryniak, April 24, 2019

LD 18 representative Mitzi Epstein, pictured on the right, worked with an Ahwatukee Girl Scout Troop this legislative session to draft a bill (HB 2664) that would curb the harmful release of balloons outdoors. Republican LD 12 representative Warren Peterson, pictured on the left, released a press release celebrating the demise of this "radical" bill.

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Dist. 18 reps reveal their priorities for legislative action

L to R: Jennifer Jermaine, Mitzi Epstein

Dist. 18 Reps Talk About Priorities for Funding

Wrangler News

By: Noah Kutz, April 22, 2019

Mitzi Epstein and Jennifer Jermaine discuss legislative priorities with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. Both representatives support strengthening education funding. 

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76 Trombones and Your Town

Strike Out the Band ... 
Law to levy tax for city band nears final note 

 February 18, 2019   marching-band_capTimes_clipart.jpg

Note from Mitzi Epstein - HB2454 might be intended to remove unnecessary laws,  or it might be a placeholder for a striker. I expect it to be a "vehicle" bill,  one that will be used to skip normal vetting steps.  

But on the face of it,  ...  here's a quote from the article... 
“I love marching bands, I love music, I love the idea of a band in the gazebo,” Rep. Mitzi Epstein, D-Tempe, said when the legislation was debated in committee. “Arizona has a lot of small towns and therefore should be able to have the flexibility to do what they want.”     


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