To mask or not to mask — is that the question?
Shakespeare’s dramatic conundrum could be ours. Utah’s weekly COVID-19 average over the past week is 400-plus … the highest trend yet, and 22% increase from last week. Coronavirus does not break for vacations, but many Utahns have since the reopening. Utahns are used to the heat: they thrive in it. COVID-19 is also thriving in the heat, as hot sports are flaring up from St. George to Logan. Since May 15, when Utah moved to “yellow,” our highest infection rates are occurring — during a phase labeled “low risk.”
Along with travel, Utahns gather, but too frequently without masks or social distancing. Mandating masks has become a major political hotspot as well. Gov. Gary Herbert stated in May that if Utah handles things right, the state would not surge. State Rep. Suzanne Harrison reported, “This spike in COVID cases is very concerning and approaching exponential.”
State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn reported the spike was “a statewide trend,” adding, “it’s sobering ... and could overwhelm Utah’s health care systems.”
Has Utah handled things right? This sobering surge requires decisive action. Clearly a trend has emerged and is escalating. The question is, can our governor, mayors, health department and citizens unite and respond with consideration for both respecting and saving lives as well as restoring the economy? Or will we just mask COVID with excuses … creating a worse conundrum?
Salt Lake City