‘The Rundown’: Utah weathered the pandemic better than most states

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Wednesday, April 21

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Utah’s approach to COVID was better than most states

Utah political leaders consistently said they tried to balance public safety with minimizing economic disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, how did Utah fare compared to other states?

A new analysis concludes the Beehive State fared better than most navigating the yearlong COVID disruption. A new analysis from Hamilton Place Strategies looked at two metrics - job loss and excess deaths from the virus.

(Chart via Hamilton Place Strategies)

Utah was one of two states that ended the pandemic with a net job gain. The other was our neighbor to the north, Idaho.

Utah didn’t do as well as other states when comparing excess deaths per capita but was still in the upper third, coming in around 11th.

Hawaii had the worst job loss of all 50 states, losing almost 84,000 jobs per million residents, but had fewer residents die than expected. West Virginia was the other state that saw fewer deaths per capita than it should have. Mississippi was at the bottom with 3,800 more deaths than expected per million residents.

“At a high level, it appears that the US lost 13 jobs for every person who died from COVID-19 in the year following the start of the pandemic, but this is not shared evenly across states. States with major hospitality and tourism sectors were hit hard in terms of job loss, with the impact falling unevenly across sectors,” wrote HPS in their summary. “And states that were in the first wave of infections—when the healthcare system was still learning how to treat COVID-19—fared comparatively worse on their death tolls.”

New York fared the worst of all the states, losing 55,000 jobs per million residents and 3,300 excess deaths per million residents.

Florida was smack dab in the middle of both metrics.

What you need to know for Wednesday morning

Former President Donald Trump said in a recent interview he’s “beyond seriously” looking at running again in 2024. Some Utahns would welcome Trump’s candidacy, but others say the focus should be on the 2022 elections [Tribune].

Angela Dunn is quitting as the state epidemiologist to head up the Salt Lake County Health Department [Tribune].

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts filed against him in the murder of George Floyd [Minneapolis Star-Tribune].

Utah leaders and groups react to the guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial [Tribune].

Hundreds of Utahns marched to the George Floyd mural in Salt Lake City following the verdict [Tribune].

The U.S. House rejected a Republican-led effort to censure Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters over her remarks about the Chavin trial [WaPo].

A group of Republican senators are preparing a counterproposal to President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. The plan would cost between $600 billion and $800 billion and would be paid for by unspent COVID relief money and user fees [Politico].

Coronavirus vaccine supply may soon outpace demand in the U.S. [CNN].

The European Union’s drug regulatory agency says there’s a possible link between the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and rare blood clots but said the benefits outweigh the risk [AP].

The USDA will extend the universal free lunch program through the 2021-2022 school year [WaPo].

Mark McCloskey, the lawyer who gained notoriety for waving an assault rifle at Black Lives Matter protesters last summer, says he’s considering running for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat [Politico].

The proposed European soccer “super league” has completely disintegrated just two days after it was announced. Six English sides pulled out of the fledgling project after a furious fan reaction [BBC].

Wednesday’s Utah news roundup


  • Why Utah Rep. Burgess Owens says comparing Georgia voting law to Jim Crow is an insult - Deseret News


  • Medical cannabis advocates launch effort to make it more affordable for patients - FOX 13

  • State offering another round of relief money to small businesses as pandemic lingers - Standard-Examiner


  • Governor, lawmakers laud ‘equity’ bills aimed at homelessness, housing, immigration - Deseret News


  • Almost 800,000 Utahns are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - Tribune

Local government

  • City Survey: What city planners want to know from you - St. George Spectrum

  • Summit County asks judge to throw out Hideout annexation before referendum - Park Record

On the opinion pages

  • Robert Gehrke: Angela Dunn was much more than a capable expert during an unprecedented pandemic - Tribune

  • Derek Miller: Building an immigration consensus for America - Tribune

You say it’s your birthday?

Happy birthday Dell Smith, district director for Rep. Chris Stewart.

If you have a birthday or another life event you’d like us to recognize in this space, let us know.

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