Washington is a state like Arizona – only with 13,000 fewer COVID-19 deaths

AZCentral – The Arizona Republic

Washington is a state like Arizona – only with 13,000 fewer COVID-19 deaths

EJ Montini, Arizona Republic December 20, 2021

A COVID-19 patient in an ICU.
A COVID-19 patient in an ICU.

At some point in the future there will be an accounting, and only one number will matter:

The number of lives lost to COVID-19.

For much of the pandemic that number has not seemed to matter much, if at all, to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. Spouting platitudes about the economy has mattered. Acquiescing to the conspiracy theorists and the anti-vaccine kooks in the Republican party has mattered.

But talking about COVID-19 and the terrible toll it has taken on Arizona, and actually doing something to stop it … those things have not mattered.

And so there will be an accounting.

Is making comparisons fair?

There will be arguments that making comparisons between Arizona and other jurisdictions, other communities, other states, is unfair. Apples to oranges. Night and day. As different as chalk and cheese.

That kind of thing.

But then there are the numbers. And the numbers are what matters.

In terms of population, for example, Arizona and the state of Washington are fairly similar.

Recent counts show Washington at about 7.8 million people and Arizona at about 7.5 million.

One difference between us is that Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee hasn’t been as timid as Ducey when it comes to trying to protect his citizens.

He’s taken a lot of heat for some of his policies. Making people do things they’d prefer not to do – even if it might save their lives – doesn’t always go well for a politician. At least in the short term.

Unlike Arizona, which long ago abandoned its citizens to their own devices, Washington still has a number of restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Mask requirements. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test requirements. It’s a fairly long list and not everyone is happy about it.

Case, death numbers reflect their policies

But then there are the numbers.

Washington state has had a little over 800,000 cases of COVID-19 and fewer than 10,000 deaths.

Arizona has had 1.3 million cases and 23,000 deaths.

Think about that.

Ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly.

Would you have accepted a few more restrictions, a few more government imposed attempts at mitigating the spread of the virus, if it might have saved 13,000 Arizonans?

That’s roughly the difference between us and Washington. No comparison between states is perfect, of course. There are differences in city sizes and environment and demographics an all that.

What will matter in the long run

But the bottom line is that their population is slightly more numerous than ours, yet they have lost 13,000 fewer of their brothers and sisters than we have in Arizona.

Thirteen thousand.

Not one or two or even five thousand.


And the reason, simply, is that their leadership worked harder at saving lives than ours did. They understood, better than our leaders did, that saving lives should have started, and remained, and continue to be, priority number one.

Because in the end only one number matters.

The number of lives lost to COVID-19.

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.