With Arizona and the rest of the US in the grip of a pandemic, Arizona State University researchers have decided to disregard the state government's instruction to "pause" their work producing projections and models. "Moving forward, ASU will continue to perform its COVID-19 research, and will make these updates publicly available during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," the university said in a statement to the Arizona Republic. The state, which has ended the university working group's access to special data sets, says it is now using models provided by the federal government, which are not publicly available.
Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, said Wednesday that with "two months of on-the-ground data," they have "been able to see which models are accurate—which match the actual facts and are most useful—and which are not." Ducey's office said Wednesday that he is following White House guidelines for reopening the state, News 12 reports. Critics accuse the state government of trying to shut down the university modeling team because it called for waiting longer to reopen Arizona. Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema tweeted Wednesday that the decision to "disregard the science" was "concerning and disappointing." She said she's glad university researchers will continue their work and she plans to "rely on their findings." (Read more Arizona stories.)