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Virus surge recedes as Arizona nears 800K cases, 15K deaths

February 15, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona health officials reported 1,338 new COVID-19 cases on Monday as the state approaches 800,000 cases and 15,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

The state did not report any new deaths, but the fatality numbers tend to be light on Mondays following a lag in weekend reporting.

The state is likely to surpass both benchmarks of 800,000 cases and 15,000 deaths on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The state has reported 798,608 cases and 14,978 deaths thus far.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Health officials say the coronavirus remains widespread across the state, but the surge that made Arizona the nation’s hot spot last month is receding.

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University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said Monday the school will offer more in-person instruction at the end of the month if conditions continue to improve.

The university has been offering in-person instruction only for essential courses like labs and performing arts, but Robbins said the school is aiming to begin allowing in-person instruction on campus starting Feb. 22 for classes with 50 people or less that were designated as a mix of online and in-person instruction at the time of registration.

Students who are not comfortable attending in-person will be able to continue online instruction.