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Opinion: End to mask mandate led to more cases

I silently guessed that the COVID-19 problems in our state would increase, which they did.

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Dayana Bottger, Ana Polar and Kiessy Dominguez wear masks while walking through downtown Salt Lake City.

Dayana Bottger, Ana Polar and Kiessy Dominguez wear masks while walking through downtown Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. State lawmakers struck down a Salt Lake County mask mandate that was supposed to be in effect for 30 days.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Saturday, Jan 22, I was at a basketball game for little girls. The Legislature had just negated the ability of cities or counties in the state to mandate masks or vaccines or anything. I looked around me and noticed that only one person had a mask on, and I joined him. 

I asked some of the others why they didn’t have masks on, as we were all sitting close together. They laughed at me, and said, “The governor just eliminated the mask mandate! We don’t have to wear masks now.”    

I silently guessed that the COVID-19 problems in our state would increase, which they did. On Jan. 25, the CDC COVID Data tracker listed Utah as having the highest level of transmission of COVID-19 in the United States. On Jan. 27, the Utah Department of Health reported 843 Utahns were hospitalized with the coronavirus, far exceeding the previous record of 606 patients in December 2020. 

Studies are now proving that masking is effective in slowing down the spread of the COVID-19 variants, and while a vaccinated person may test positive, an unvaccinated person is 11.3 times morelikely to die from COVID-19 problems than a fully vaccinated person.  But many Utahns believe all of that information is just bunk. I guess that they would just rather experience COVID-19 in person. It appears our Legislature does represent many of its constituents.

Fred Ash

Sandy