Democrat attacks Utah’s coronavirus response effort

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Peterson has launched a broadside attack on the leadership of Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

SALT LAKE CITY – After months of silence about Utah’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Peterson has launched a broadside attack on the state’s management of that crisis.

Utah’s COVID-19 response so far is a story of failed leadership,” Peterson charged, speaking at a press conference held on the corner of 1st Avenue and State Street in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. “The worst part of the pandemic both in terms of public health and economic harm is still ahead of us. If our public servants do not lead, we are risking an economic and health catastrophe.”

During the run-up to the primary balloting on June 30, former House Speaker Greg Hughes criticized the state’s coronavirus response as an over-reach that violated Utahns’ constitutional rights. But Peterson has now questioned the competence of Gov. Gary Herbert and gubernatorial rival Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, saying that the state has not taken the bold preemptive steps necessary to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

Peterson was joined at the press conference by Dr. Bryan Poole, a microbiologist from Brigham Young University. In brief remarks, Poole emphasized that substantial revisions to Utah’s coronavirus response were needed.

The first of those changes, according to Peterson, should be a statewide mandate for Utahns to wear facemasks in both in-door and out-door public spaces where social distancing is not possible. On advice from experts at the Centers for Disease Control, more than 20 states have already issued similar orders.

“Facemasks are a simple and time-tested tool that can limit the invisible virus engulfing our neighborhoods,” he said.

Peterson also demanded other revisions to the statewide coronavirus response including:

  • The development of an emergency plan for the production, procurement and stockpiling of N95 respirator masks for frontline health care workers. Those masks have been proven to be 95 percent effective in filtering small airborne particles, including bacteria and viruses.
  • The development and implementation of emergency plans to provide adequate coronavirus testing for Utahns. Utah currently ranks 37th among U.S. states in COVID-19 testing, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute. Such testing is critical, Peterson argued, because asymptomatic people can still transmit the virus to others.
  • The development and implementation of a plan to provide resources necessary to safely reopen Utah’s public schools in August. According to Peterson, those resources must include COVID-19 testing and tracing protocols, plus adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.
  • The development and implementation of improved contact tracing efforts to suppress the spread of the coronavirus. Peterson said the state’s $6 million web app has failed to successfully trace the sources of the ongoing outbreak. He recommended coordinating with tech-giants Apple and Google to use their free technology for that purpose.

Peterson’s running mate, Karina Brown of Nibley, also spoke at the press conference to defend the need to rapid improvement of the state’s response to the coronavirus.

“The aggressive, preventive efforts we make now to stop the spread of the virus will mean a safer educational environment for Utah children and teachers, plus a safer work environment for businesses,” Brown said. “Utahns have come together in the past to overcome difficult challenges and now is the time to unite in our efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

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5 Comments

  • S July 15, 2020 at 3:35 pm Reply

    GROSLEY INCOMPETENT!. our leaders have FAILED us!!!. I’m at the point where I would like to move out of this state. Way too much IGNORANCE, and even worse WILLFUL IGNORANCE. I want to live somewhere where everyone wants to take care of everyone, where selfishness is VOID and you feel like a big TEAM doing what’s right! To keep ALL safe….I now kinda hate living here because now I am aware of how selfish and IGnOrant and willful ignorant a good portion of people among me are. But when leaders don’t make right decisions, and comically think “people will do the right thing”…………. ..VoTE ThEsE clowns OuT !!

    • Joel July 16, 2020 at 6:46 am Reply

      I Moved from Out of state. And totally disagree with you. I came from California. And the way its going down there. Utah is in a waaaay better situation. So cool your jets. And be thankful this is a Red state. Or we’d be crippled like The blue state I came from.

  • S July 15, 2020 at 3:36 pm Reply

    GROSLEY INCOMPETENT!. our leaders have FAILED us!!!. I’m at the point where I would like to move out of this state. Way too much IGNORANCE, and even worse WILLFUL IGNORANCE. I want to live somewhere where everyone wants to take care of everyone, where selfishness is VOID and you feel like a big TEAM doing what’s right! To keep ALL safe….I now kinda hate living here because now I am aware of how selfish and IGnOrant and willful ignorant a good portion of people among me are. But when leaders don’t make right decisions, and comically think “people will do the right thing”…………. ..VoTE ThEsE clowns OuT !!.

  • Deedee July 19, 2020 at 7:18 am Reply

    Of course Democrats criticize Republicans and vise versa. It’s called politics and not based on facts. And it’s hindsight 20 20. If leadership could be less mean to each other maybe together there could be found common ground and a way to get ahead of all the fear and death talk.

  • Mel July 19, 2020 at 7:09 pm Reply

    Mr. Peterson needs to find out what is going on in Utah. The state has a plan/guidelines in place for schools to reopen and has required each district to come up with a more detailed plan that works for THEIR AREA AND PATRONS. My district is providing PPEs for employees and students. Sorry Mr. Peterson, you just lost my vote.

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