/ Modified nov 17, 2020 4:57 p.m.

News roundup: Supes certify Pima County vote, scientists use game theory to understand pandemic

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Nov. 17.

Cases 279,896 | Deaths 6,312

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Arizona reported 2,984 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional deaths. A medical survey conducted in September found that about 10% of Maricopa County residents had contracted COVID-19 since pandemic began, the Associated Press reports.


Arizona reports nearly 3,000 more COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths

AP

PHOENIX — Arizona has reported nearly 3,000 additional known COVID-19 cases as deaths, hospitalizations and testing positivity continued to rise. The state Department of Health Services on Tuesday reported 2,984 new cases with 10 additional deaths. That boosted the state’s totals to 279,896 cases and 6,312 deaths.

The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations reached 1,624 as of Monday. Seven-day rolling averages of new daily cases, daily deaths and testing positivity all rose over the past two weeks.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman has said Arizona needs a statewide mask requirement and other steps to curb spread of the virus.

Learn more here.


Pima County supervisors certify vote 3-2 along party lines

AZPM

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday morning to make the results of the general election official.

Before the party-line vote approving the canvass of the ballots, Republican Supervisor Steve Christy said he could not, in “good conscience” approve the vote because he said there was “too much” evidence that there were “statewide irregularities” and possible voter fraud.

“Until this controversy is settled by all entities involved, I must vote against this canvass, and I am insisting that there be at very least that all ballots go through a hand count and or a forensic audit,” said Christy.

Outgoing Republican Supervisor Ally Miller also voted against certifying the vote.

Learn more here..


Ballot count complete, but Republicans press ahead with challenges

Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona elections officials finished counting the last of more than 3.4 million ballots over the weekend and are vowing to certify the results in the next two weeks, despite ongoing challenges from state Republicans.

In the final unofficial count, President Donald Trump narrowed the gap with President-elect Joe Biden, but still trailed by 10,457 votes, a slim margin of 49.39% to 49.09%.

But Republicans are not about to give up, with at least two lawsuits challenging vote processing, including one set to be heard Wednesday. And GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation said they will push for an audit of the Maricopa County returns.

Learn more here.


Scientists use game theory to better understand response to pandemic

AZPM

Scientists are learning more about how people respond to COVID-19 by viewing behavior through the lens of game theory.

Game theory is often used to predict how people respond to economic stresses, but psychological game theorists are examining how behavior can change under the daily anxiety generated by COVID-19.

University of Arizona economic professor Martin Dufwenberg looks at a list of emotions to predict what will trigger behavioral responses to situations like this global crisis.

"You have to think about what is going on in a pandemic and there are many candidate emotions that would be relevant,” Dufwenberg said.

Dufwenberg said fear is one of the first feelings to lead behavior to change, followed by anxiety and frustration. Experts believe linking psychological game theory to the COVID crisis could help predict whether people will accept wearing a mask or getting a vaccine to battle the virus.


Exoplanets get starring role in Sierra Vista exhibit

AZPM

Sierra Vista is hosting a major science exhibition this month.

Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds is a national traveling exhibit making a stop at the city's Henry F. Hauser Museum. The program includes touch screens, hands-on activities and more. Curator Elizabeth Wrozek says arranging the exhibit's interactive aspect was a challenge during the COVID-19 crisis, but notes every item is immediately sanitized after every contact with a visitor. Masks are required and social distancing is enforced.

"We give an introduction, talk a little bit about the exhibit, and it's constantly monitored so each thing that's touched is sanitized right away," Wrozek said.

The exhibition details the ongoing search for habitable worlds outside our solar system. It also highlights the history of astronomy in Sierra Vista, with meteorites, telescopes and original blueprints for the area's Patterson Observatory available for visitors to see.

Find details here.


Navajo Nation reports 197 new COVID-19 cases and 1 new death

AP

WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation health officials are reporting 197 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death. The latest figures released Monday night bring the total number of known cases to 13,596 with 603 known deaths.

Tribal health officials said more than 138,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic started and around 7,900 have recovered.

The news comes as the Navajo Nation on Monday reinstated a stay-at-home lockdown for the entire reservation.

The coronavirus has affected 29 communities throughout the reservation, which spans more than 27,000 square miles in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Learn more here.


Navajos Have Trouble Accessing Hardship Assistance

Fronteras Desk

Many Navajo who have applied for the tribe’s hardship assistance program online have received error messages. People have to prove they are enrolled members by going through the Office of Vital Statistics. But the Navajo Controller said in a statement the tribe recently lost data and hasn’t done a good job of updating its records.

Last month the Navajo president approved a plan to provide $49 million in CARES Act funds for emergency financial assistance during the pandemic. An enrolled member can receive up to $1,500.

The program became available late last month and the deadline to apply is Nov. 30. Officials have not said whether they will extend the deadline to deal with the glitch.


Mexican Government Proposes Solutions To Yaqui Water Issues

Fronteras Desk

The Mexican government is proposing several policies to solve long-standing water issues for the Yaqui indigenous people in Sonora.

The proposals include building an aqueduct to provide drinking water to Yaqui communities, creating an irrigation district that would be controlled by members and a consultation on the controversial but long since completed Independence Aqueduct.

“We don’t believe anything until they show it with facts,” said Guadalupe Flores, a tribal member and adviser in the Yaqui community of Loma de Bacum. “Words are words, and the wind carries them away.”

As to the aqueduct and irrigation district, he says the infrastructure must be in good condition for the measures to be meaningful.


GOP seeks to postpone Maricopa County election certification

AP

PHOENIX — The Arizona Republican Party has asked a judge to prohibit Maricopa County from certifying its Nov. 3 election results including Democrat Joe Biden's win over President Donald Trump until the court makes a decision about the party's lawsuit seeking a new hand-count of a sampling of ballots.

The party made the request Monday night after the county revealed officials planned to approve the returns on Thursday or Friday.

A judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon. The county faces a Nov. 23 deadline for certifying results.

The lawsuit focuses on an audit of a sampling of ballots required to test the accuracy of tabulated results.

Learn more here.


Tucson banker gets prison for fraud: Must pay back $1.25M

AP

Federal prosecutors say a Tucson banker has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison for defrauding an 82-year-old customer. They say 38-year-old Jacob Roach was given a 40-month prison term and ordered to pay $1.25 million in restitution.

Authorities say Roach was employed as a business relationship banker for a large bank in the Tucson area. He was accused of fraudulently creating a bank account in the victim’s name and embezzling the $1.25 million for his own use.

Roach resigned from his position before the bank discovered the scheme.

Learn more here.

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