Utah politicians face COVID the way they face air pollution – they don’t

Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News

There was a great editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune that reminds us, “What doesn’t kill you mutates and tries again.” 

We are seeing a premature relaxation of attitudes and pandemic precaution policies in many states, including Utah, and by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. While there may be some justification for allowing more economic activity, the idea of relaxing mask mandates in public events is a political calculation, not a medical evidence or public health protection calculation. As an in-house Tribune editorial states, “The global COVID-19 pandemic is not going away because we tell it to. It is certainly not going to loosen its clutches on our lives if we pretend really hard that there is nothing more of concern.”

“The governor’s [Governor Cox] hope that Utah businesses would stop requiring vaccinations for their employees and customers is the wrong approach for any leader to be taking under the circumstances. He should not just hope that the Legislature does not pass a bill prohibiting those safeguards at the option of private businesses. He should be promising to veto such a measure, on the grounds that it is both anti-public health and anti-private business…It is also troubling that Utah is moving away from public testing sites, as the obvious result will be fewer reported cases when there are fewer tests.”  

We couldn’t help but notice the similarities in the way our state government approaches COVID and air pollution. Both are major public health hazards being ignored and minimized by our political leaders, leaving residents on their own to try to minimize issues that are far beyond their control. Common sense and medical science clearly indicates that we should still be taking all the same precautions of mask wearing and vaccinations, especially if we are to increase our public activity.

Send a message to your legislators on COVID and air pollution here.

Read the Tribune editorial on COVID here.

Masks could be a forever reality without meaningful action on COVID and air pollution.