SALT LAKE CITY — On March 11 as the sports world was turned upside down when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus in Oklahoma City, two key figures in helping the Jazz navigate the testing process for the virus and getting back to Utah were state epidemiologíst Dr. Angela Dunn and Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox.
On Monday, the two were guests on the second episode of Ingles Insight, a recently created podcast hosted by Jazz forward Joe Ingles, his wife Renae and team writer Aaron Falk.
The episode was pre-recorded in two separate parts.
As leading members of the Utah Coronavirus Task Force, Cox and Dunn regularly discuss many of the topics they discussed in the podcast, although they shared a few unique insights.
“This is probably going to last a couple months, and we just have to do it,” Dunn said of social distancing measures.
Dunn, who is the mother of two children under the age of 8 , said she’s trying to focus on what people are still able to do while social distancing and not what they can’t do. She encouraged doing things like going on walks and to parks, so long as it’s not with large groups of people.
“We’re not trying to stop everything we enjoy,” she said. “We just have to reframe how we do it.”
She said 18 months is a “best-case scenario” for the development of a vaccine, although she’s still not anticipating societal shutdowns to the level China enforced.
Talk about China came as a result of Joe Ingles mentioning how his former Jazz teammate Ekpe Udoh, along with a number of other American players, have returned to the country in anticipation of the Chinese Basketball Association resuming play on April 15 after it was shut down as the virus outbreak began.
“I’m hoping we can control this quickly without having to do that, but it’s going to take a lot of resolve, not only from individuals to just not be around people for a while, but also a political will to keep things formally shut down, because those formal shutdowns like schools and restaurants and bars just remind us as society that things are different right now,” Dunn said.
Cox recalled being on his way home to Fairview from Salt Lake City when he got word of Gobert’s positive test, so he turned around and spent the evening coordinating with the Jazz the next courses of action.
“I think that what happened with Rudy and with the team actually helped move people along in a really important way, because our mindset as humans and Americans and Utahns is that we don’t move unless we have to,” Cox said. “This became real to a lot of people, and so we’ve been able to make adjustments on the fly and people have been responding in positive ways to what we’re asking them to do.”
He added that following Gobert’s positive test, Utah became the first state to limit gatherings to fewer than 100 people, which he said, “doesn’t happen without the team and the Rudy thing.”
Dunn concluded by reiterating the importance of social distancing.
“We’re relying on every individual to help us stop this, and you can do that by practicing social distancing and staying home and keeping your kids home when you’re sick,” she said. “Now is not the time to fight through a cold and go to the office. We need individuals to have that discipline to help us fight this pandemic. That’ll save our healthcare system and healthcare workers. We can’t afford to have them overwhelmed.”