By Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2021

PHOENIX (AP) - Health officials in Arizona on Sunday reported 1,544 new COVID-19 cases and 37 more deaths as they braced for a possible surge in cases from Super Bowl gatherings.

The Department of Health Services said the latest numbers raised the state’s totals to 780,637 cases and 14,048 known deaths since the pandemic began.

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.

Arizona has been a national hot spot in the now-receding fall and winter surge.

But the state has seen its rates of additional cases, hospitalizations and deaths decrease with the passage of time since holidays increased exposures due to gatherings and travel.

However, public health officials have warned against complacency regarding the spread of the coronavirus and urged caution on Super Bowl weekend.

Arizona was the U.S. state with the worst COVID-19 diagnosis rate during much of January.

As of Friday, the state had the sixth-worst rate over the past week, with 1 in every 262 residents becoming newly infected.

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