ASU to Continue COVID-19 Modeling Despite State Request to Pause

May 8, 2020

Arizona State University will continue to produce publicly available COVID-19 modeling despite being told by the Arizona Department of Health Services to "pause" that work, The Arizona Republic reported.

On Monday, the state's bureau chief of public health statistics, S. Robert Bailey, wrote to a modeling team of professors from ASU and the University of Arizona and asked them to pause all work on pandemic projections and modeling. The state also ended the researchers' access to special data sets. Arizona will instead be relying on a model from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is not available to the public, the newspaper reported.

Bailey's request came shortly after Doug Ducey, Arizona's Republican governor, announced plans to begin lifting social distancing restrictions in coming days. Reopening at the end of May was the only scenario that would not result in a large increase in COVID-19 cases, the model from the two universities had found.

In a statement to the Republic, ASU confirmed it had received the request from the state to pause the modeling, and that the team would continue its work.

"Moving forward, ASU will continue to perform its COVID-19 research, and will make these updates publicly available during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," ASU said.

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, on Twitter said she was grateful that ASU and the University of Arizona will continue to produce the models. "I plan to rely on their findings and conclusions in my work to keep Arizonans healthy, safe and economically secure."


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