Arizona, Most Anti-Mask State, Sees Coronavirus Cases Fall

As coronavirus cases in the U.S. continue to soar, several states and cities have issued mask mandates, which have seen residents and some local authorities come to heads with state officials in recent weeks.

A new study has shown Arizona to be the most "anti-mask" state, according to a survey by the Survival At Home website, which tracked over 150,000 tweets posted on Twitter over the past month that referenced different anti-mask-related hashtags including #nomask, #burnyourmask, #nomasks, #antimask and #iwillnotcomply, among others.

Arizona's daily case count has been mostly increasing from around May 18, just days after the state's stay-at-home order expired on May 15.

But total new cases in the state have decreased in recent weeks, according to the total new cases reported over the past two weeks from July 17. The case tallies have been counted from July 17, since the figures for July 18 and 19 are likely to be higher than the current reported data due to delayed reporting from local health departments during weekends.

Arizona reported 21,700 total new infections from July 11 to 17, a 13.2 percent decrease from the 25,000 total new cases reported from July 4 to 10, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

No statewide mask mandate was issued in Arizona. Last month Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced that local authorities are allowed to set their own rules around mask requirements.

In the last week of June, Ducey paused the state's reopening and announced the closure of bars and nightclubs for 30 days following the state's recent spike in cases.

"We can't be under any illusion that this virus is going to go away on its own," Ducey said at a press conference at the time.

"Our expectation is that next week our numbers will be worse. It will take several weeks for the mitigations that we have put in place and are putting in place to take effect," he said.

Earlier this month, Arizona activated its Crisis Standard of Care (CSC) plan to help hospitals prioritize scarce health care resources following the recent surge in COVID-19-related patients.

The nine other states among the top 10 most "anti-mask" states reported a spike in new cases over the past two weeks from July 4 to July 17.

Ryan Taylor, a spokesperson for Survival At Home, told the Arizona Republic: "As you can see, there are pockets of anti-mask activity all across the U.S., however the upper northeast (outside of Maine) is the most pro-mask region."

The study tracked only anti-mask tweets and that "tweets in favor of wearing masks (pro-mask activity) far outweighs the anti-mask sentiment in each state," Taylor noted.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, May 2020
A park ranger wears a face mask while patrolling the Bright Angel trail in the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona on May 25, 2020. Getty Images

Total new cases reported among top 10 anti-mask states

(according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Survival At Home)

1. Arizona

New cases from July 11 to 17: 21,700
New cases from July 4 to 10: 25,000

2. Nevada

Total new cases from July 11 to 17: 7,356
Total new cases from July 4 to 10: 5,186

3. Florida

New cases from July 11 to 17: 83,200
New cases from July 4 to 10: 65,500

4. Idaho

New cases from July 11 to 17: 3,824
New cases from July 4 to 10: 2,935

5. Maine

New cases from July 11 to 17: 137
New cases from July 4 to 10: 126

6. Missouri

New cases from July 11 to 17: 4,669
New cases from July 4 to 10: 3,909

7. Wyoming

New cases from July 11 to 17: 279
New cases from July 4 to 10: 208

8. South Carolina

New cases from July 11 to 17: 13,600
New cases from July 4 to 10: 10,972

9. Ohio

New cases from July 11 to 17: 9,500
New cases from July 4 to 10: 7,547

10. Montana

New cases from July 11 to 17: 773
New cases from July 4 to 10: 465

Over 14.5 million people across the globe have been infected since the virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, including 3.7 million in the U.S. More than 8.1 million globally have reportedly recovered from infection, while over 606,900 have died as of Monday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphics below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

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The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the U.S. states with the most COVID-19 cases.

States with most COVID-19 cases
The U.S. states with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases. STATISTA

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. states and the European Union.

New COVID-19 cases in U.S. vs EU
Average number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the European Union. STATISTA