Arizona hit a grim milestone last week when the death toll from COVID-19 passed 25,000 people.
Omicron really is everywhere. As of Jan. 13, 17,528 COVID cases had been reported in Pima County since the start of the new year, according to Pima County Acting Administrator Jan Lesher. That’s compared to 14,753 for the entire month of December. As of last week, COVID patients were filling roughly one-third of all ICU beds and only seven beds were available across Pima County. Local schools saw 555 cases last week, with students making up about 85% of cases.
I could go on with unhappy numbers, but you get the idea. (And staff reporter Nicole Feltman has more for you in this week’s Currents section.) The bottom line: Vaccination might not stop you from getting COVID, but in nearly all cases, it prevents a serious case that requires hospitalization. If you haven’t gotten a shot yet, you should. And you should mask up indoors in public places where you can’t physically distance from others if you want to avoid the bug.
Speaking of unhappy numbers: In our cover story this week, longtime TW contributor Leo W. Banks brings us disturbing news from the border, where arrests of undocumented crossers are hitting an all-time high. It’s creating chaos for many of the people who live along the border while enriching the cartels that control the smuggling of people and drugs. Of course, many of those crossing are simply seeking a better life, but Leo’s report this week focuses on the cartels involved.
Elsewhere in the book: Managing editor Jeff Gardner tells you the latest about driverless trucks on the highway, as well as the opening of Tucson’s new water-treatment plant; Sonoran Explorin’ columnist Emily Dieckman strolls through the aisles of Grant Stone Supermarket; arts writer Margaret Regan takes in two new shows at the Tucson Museum of Art; XOXO columnist Xavier Omar Otero tells where to rock this week; Tucson Weedly columnist David Abbott looks at cannabis-related legislation up at the Capitol; and the Tucson Weekly Test Department tries out some gummies that might help you get a good night’s sleep.
Stay safe, stay healthy.