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COVID-19 Coverage

Arizona Edition: Mark Kelly Calls For Better Leadership; Safe Reopening of AZ Schools

Howard Fischer


Campaigning for a seat in the U.S. Senate, Democrat Mark Kelly is taking his virtual campaign statewide to hear from communities as they cope locally with a global pandemic. 

In this episode of Arizona Edition, KAWC's Lou Gum speaks with Kelly on the recent surge in coronavirus cases throughout Yuma County, the need for hospital staff, the importance of masks, and his take on student's returning to the classroom. 

Kelly believes the increase in infection rate is the result of people not following Centers for Disease Control guidelines, or guidelines set out by the Yuma County Health District.  

"To hear about increase rates when we are in such a significant healthcare crisis is concerning," he said.


School in Arizona is still set to resume in the Fall, something that Kelly says is manageable if done right. 

"We've got to protect our children, at the same time, at some point, we gotta get our kids back to school," he urged.  

"I think this can be done safely," by limiting interactions, he suggests, with no kids in the cafeteria, no gym classes, and no mass gatherings in an auditorium. 

"It is going to be challenging to get them back to school here in the Fall but if we are smart and methodical about it and listen to the healthcare professionals, I suspect it can be done in a safe way," Kelly said.  

When asked about wearing a face-covering he compared it to his experiences in space as an astronaut.

"You know when you are flying in space there are certain things you take with you, you take the pressure suit and the helmet that is going to keep you safe," he said. "It is a similar situation here...we know it is going to make it less likely that you infect others and infect yourself."

Kelly blames the lack of leadership and that masks became a political issue. "It shouldn't be...I think we need better leadership on this issue," Kelly said.


This episode of Arizona Edition was recorded on July 3, 2020.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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