Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy announced Wednesday that he contracted COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated. According to members of the Flagstaff City Council in remarks to the Arizona Daily Sun, Deasy had been getting tested secretly all week and knew his family had several COVID-19 exposures — yet decided to attend Tuesday’s meeting anyway.
Councilman Austin Aslan criticized Deasy for deciding to put people at risk. Aslan added that Deasy shopped at the outdoor recreational store, REI, on Sunday.
“This all seems very ironic for a person that has been almost theatrical in his protestations about the needs for COVID safety protocols and aggressive funding,” observed Aslan.
Deasy claimed that he didn’t know he had COVID-19, and called accusations from the council “pretty ridiculous.” He explained that he normally takes COVID-19 tests several times a week to ensure he’s not infected.
“I tested positive for Covid this morning after waking up with a mild sore throat. Thankful to be vaccinated so symptoms are mild,” wrote Deasy. “Please get tested if you have any symptoms whatsoever. What is mild to you can be deadly to others.”
Later on the same day he tested positive, Deasy shared the claim from Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) that unvaccinated individuals were 31.1 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the vaccinated.
ADHS also noted that unvaccinated individuals were nearly five times as likely to test positive for COVID-19.
As AZ Free News reported, the latest death totals for COVID-19 reached over 24,300. Nearly zero percent of deaths occurred in those under 20 years old; the majority of deaths came from individuals over 65 years old.
Last September, Deasy offered some advice to Flagstaff’s visitors with the “WTF” acronym — a version void of explicit language, instead reading “Welcome To Flagstaff[;] Wear The Face mask.”
Following Deasy’s test results, Flagstaff City Council decided to convene in a special meeting on Thursday to discuss returning to completely virtual meetings.
Councilman Adam Shimoni said it was “embarrassing” that the council had to inform attendees, including a group of high school students, that they’d been exposed to COVID-19 at Tuesday’s meeting. He urged stricter safety protocols to mitigate the spread, especially with the outbreak of Omicron.
Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy tweeted the “WTF” acronym on Saturday to inform visitors they needed to mask up. No expletives were used. Rather, the mayor explained the acronym stood for “Welcome To Flagstaff” and encouraged people to “Wear The Face mask.”
Though face masks are still required in public transportation and government buildings, even for the fully vaccinated, the citywide mandate ended late May. The public mask mandate was put in place nearly a year prior in June.
AZ Free News inquired with Deasy’s office why the mayor chose to use the controversial acronym to relay COVID-19 safety guidance. They didn’t respond by press time.
This isn’t Deasy’s first foray into posts of this caliber concerning COVID-19. In July, the mayor tweeted what appeared to be a sexual innuendo about the potential connection between COVID-19 infection and lasting erectile dysfunction.
“Don’t let Covid get you down. Get vaccinated!” wrote the mayor.
Recently, Deasy’s other social media remarks have caused issues within city governance.
Last month, the Flagstaff City Council expressed their displeasure with Deasy’s public criticisms of them. Deasy had given the council members a 24-hour notice for a special meeting. However, four council members were representing Flagstaff at the League of Cities and Towns Conference in Phoenix and were unable to attend.
Deasy characterized the council members’ absence as willful negligence and a flippant disregard for responsibility and constituents, though the Phoenix conference is an annual affair planned on months in advance.
“Vice Mayor & Councilmembers Salas, Sweet, & Aslan were no-shows to our meeting on Covid wastewater early warning system, so meeting cancelled. Public health & safety of teachers & children should be top priority. Unfortunately, some electeds can’t bother to show up for discussion,” wrote Deasy.
Vice Mayor & Councilmembers Salas, Sweet, & Aslan were no-shows to our meeting on Covid wastewater early warning system, so meeting cancelled. Public health & safety of teachers & children should be top priority. Unfortunately, some electeds can’t bother to show up for discussion
Councilman Austin Aslan responded to Deasy with criticism over the mayor’s leadership skills and professionalism.
I can’t just sit on this and not shine a light on it. Here is the Flagstaff mayor on Instagram, repeating, on yet another platform, his baseless smears of fellow Councilmembers. Seriously, I implore you, who does this when they’re in a leadership role? This defamation is so embarrassing it makes me sick to my stomach. I have been one of Flagstaff’s strongest advocates for Covid restrictions, spanning two Councils. How does this mayor sleep at night while deliberately throwing my irrefutable record on pandemic mitigation under the bus? This is so disingenuous. To me, it feels insidious. I was literally driving through a remote portion of I-17 at 6pm on Tuesday. Shame on Paul for blindly insinuating I was at a dinner party. Also: I strongly suspect that both Councilmembers Shimoni and McCarthy are furious that they’re being used as bricks in the mayor’s toxic game, but that’s for them to confirm. Paul Deasy already admitted once this year that he ‘did not befit the honor of his position’ while unfairly impugning a local non-profit director. He truly ought to resign over this. But I’ll leave it there. You be the judge. If you’re troubled too, please share this. These attacks cannot continue in the shadows.
Deasy never issued a statement to responses from council members.