30 DAYS INTO THE MANDATE, CASES HAVE SPIKED
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz ordered all people in the municipality to mask up on June 26, 2020 to flatten the curve on COVID-19. If you’re out and mingling about in Alaska’s largest city, you are required to have a covering over your nose and mouth.
More than four weeks later, the number cases of coronavirus has exploded in Alaska, with Anchorage leading the pack. On June 26, there were 14 new cases identified in Anchorage as the mandate was put into effect. On July 22, 60 new cases were identified. Three days later, 158 cases in Anchorage were diagnosed, more than doubling the number of Anchorage cases in just three days.
And yet the compliance has been outstanding in Anchorage, for the most part, according to many observers. In stores, parks, and other public places, nearly everyone wears a mask these days. Some people even wear masks while taking a stroll in the fresh air.
Must Read Alaska has been monitoring this trend since the mandate went into effect and has observed COVID-19 spiking ever since the mandate was put in place. This is not to suggest the mask is useless, but raises the question about whether it’s working or if, indeed, the China virus would have spread even more rapidly without the mask mandate.
It’s possible that people are not taking seriously the other precautions, such as hand washing, staying six to 10 feet away from other people, and washing down surfaces with virus-killing solutions like alcohol, soap, or other sanitizers.
The combination of these precautions may slow the virus’ spread, but also require constant vigilance and the public may have become complacent, believing that masks are the magic bullet.
On Sunday, the Department of Health and Social Services announces the highest number of confirmed cases in a single day since the pandemic hit Alaska in March — 231 newly diagnosed individuals. Of these, 186 are residents and 45 are nonresidents. Of the nonresident cases, 34 are in the seafood industry, one is in the visitor industry and 10 are unknown.
There are four individuals on ventilators due to COVID-19 in Alaska, and 35 in the hospital. One more death over the reporting period brings the total number to 20 since March, and there are 1,687 active cases, which likely means there are many more active but not diagnosed. Some 207,264 COVID-19 tests have been administered in Alaska since March 2.
“Daily cases over 100 will soon diminish our hospital bed capacity. Now is the time for Alaskans to keep their social circles small, maintain 6 feet of distance from others, and wear a face covering when 6 feet can’t be maintained,” said Adam Crum. “Let’s work together to slow the spread, to protect our vulnerable, and to keep our businesses and economy running. It’s critical that Alaskans take this seriously. More announcements on mitigation strategy will be coming over the next couple days.”