Getting the National Guard to do COVID19 contact tracing is a no brainer. Health experts say contacting those infected is critical to contain the virus

Mobilize the National Guard to do COVID-19 tracing to contain the deadly virus, suggested Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton.

On Wednesday, Gov. Doug Ducey did just that, correctly so because Arizona doesn’t have time to waste, given the dramatic uptick of COVID-19 cases since the state reopened its economy.

Health experts say that contact tracing, reaching out to everyone who tested positive and who they may have come in contact with, is critical to combat the spread of the virus.

Like with everything else with the pandemic, Arizona’s government is failing to contact those infected, find out whom they have been in contact with and encourage them to take precautions to stem the contagion.

“Each time the state fails to completely trace who an infected person came into contact with, it puts more lives at risk,” Stanton, a Democrat, said in a statement. 

Calling in the National Guard to do just that makes sense. Delaware, Oklahoma and Washington are already using them as contact tracers.

Contact-tracing efforts have been slow and insufficient in Arizona. Maricopa County, for instance, is having to fast-track contact tracers and expects to increase its capacity to contact 400 to 500 people per day by next month. 

Arizona can’t wait and National Guard members can easily be trained within 48 hours, Stanton said.

“National Guard members know how to handle a crisis. They can get to work right away and give counties the help they need during this public health emergency,” he said.  

“There are 1,000 federally supported guardsmen and women across the state activated and available to support local public health officials. Additionally, Arizona has about 1,600 Medical Reserve Corps volunteers who stand alongside the Guard ready to help,” Stanton added. 

COVID-19 isn’t a game. It isn’t a political ploy to score points. It’s a deadly infection moving fast and indiscriminately, leaving a trail of deaths and a shuttered economy across the nation.

Arizona this week reported a record-high new cases and hospitals reported record numbers of patients.

Ducey insists Arizona is fine because there is hospital capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. That’s only part of the plan, however; the ultimate objective is to stop the spread in the first place.

The Republican governor’s “learn to live with the virus” approach is only accelerating the contagion, which will further solidify the economic collapse instead of reviving it.

Ducey's hunker-down mentality, shutting out anyone who disagrees with him or makes suggestions, is hurting everyone – including Republicans.

The governor was elected to represent all of Arizona’s 7 million residents, not just the 1.3 million registered Republicans who tend to dismiss the pandemic as nothing more than a Democratic political ploy.

A real leader rises above the political pettiness and looks at the best ways to protect everyone. Shutting out critics and suggestions from non-Republicans in the midst of a pandemic hurts everyone’s livelihoods and, most importantly, it cost lives.

Getting the National Guard to help with contact tracing in Arizona is a no-brainer.