‘The Rundown’: What herd immunity from COVID would mean for Utah

Your Wednesday morning Utah political cheat sheet

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What herd immunity from COVID would mean for Utah

If Utah were to reach 70% immunity against COVID-19, that would reduce the number of cases in the state by nearly 95%.

A new computer model from Epistemix found reaching that level would likely drop the number of cases in Utah by 94.7%, which is the fourth greatest decrease in the country. Only New York, Florida, and North Carolina would see a greater benefit from a higher vaccination rate.

According to figures from the Mayo Clinic, 47.4% of eligible Utahns have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 36% are fully vaccinated. Only 8 other states have a lower vaccination level. That includes Idaho (35.5%) and Wyoming (33.7%).

“Now is a vital time to reach immunity thresholds that would allow life to safely return to normal in Utah,’ said John Cordier, CEO of Epistemix, in a press release.

“There is a herd immunity gap in the state that will impede a safe return to normalcy. Our epidemiological simulations show that if Utah is able to reach 70% immunity, their total number of COVID-19 infections would decrease by 94.7%.”

The computer model also predicted raising the vaccination rate from 50% to 70% nationwide would reduce cases in every state by an average of 78%.

On Tuesday, the White House admitted the U.S. would likely miss President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of the population vaccinated by July 4th. Experts are warning the Delta variant could fuel a resurgence of the pandemic later this year.

Here’s what you need to know for Wednesday morning

Local news

  • Some Utah lawmakers are considering banning state colleges and universities from teaching “divisive topics” on campus. [Tribune]

  • Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced a citywide ban on fireworks Tuesday, but there are questions about whether Utah law allows local authorities to enact such restrictions. [Tribune]

  • A judge ruled the controversial land annexation by Hideout in Summit County was illegal on the same day residents voted in favor of the expansion. [Tribune]

  • Health experts warn the Delta variant is on the way to becoming the dominant COVID-19 strain in Utah. [Tribune]

National news

  • As expected, Republicans blocked the massive voting rights bill pushed by Democrats through a filibuster. [AP]

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will decide this week whether she will create a committee to investigate the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. [WSJ]

  • The White House acknowledged the U.S. would fall short of the goal to have 70% of the U.S. vaccinated by July 4. [NYT]

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci calls the Delta variant the “greatest threat” to eliminating COVID-19 in the U.S. [WaPo]

  • President Joe Biden plans to address rising violent crime in major cities across the nation as local authorities warn of a brutal summer ahead. [Politico]

  • Eric Adams has a moderate lead over Maya Wiley and Katharine Garcia in the New York City mayoral primary. The winner may not be known for weeks since the city used ranked-choice voting in the election. [NYT]

  • Four of the Saudi operatives who took part in the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi took part in a State Department-approved paramilitary training course in the U.S. [NYT]

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday it’s “very, very unlikely” the U.S. will see a repeat of 1970s-style inflation. [CNBC]

  • Former President Donald Trump reportedly wanted the Justice Department to stop Saturday Night Live from mocking him. [Daily Beast]

  • Connecticut is the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana. [Hartford Courant]

  • Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced her department would investigate abuse at boarding schools where Indigenous children were separated from their families in the 19th and 20th centuries. [CNN]

Wednesday’s Utah news roundup


  • A disabled teen was slammed to the floor. Utah gave the youth treatment center a pass. It wasn’t an aberration. [Tribune]

  • What you like and dislike (besides the long walk) at Salt Lake City’s new airport — and how its director responded. [Tribune]

  • Downtown taco carts bounce back. [Tribune]

  • Dixie State University registered Polytechnic, Utah Tech domain names in 2020. Both names were just recommended to DSU trustees. [DNews]

  • Some Utah police applicants want to use medical marijuana. Can they? [KUTV]

  • Judge considers halting lawsuit over Utah’s 18-week abortion ban again. [FOX13]

  • Utah credit union to participate in first pilot of mobile driver’s license program. [KSL]

  • Northwestern Shoshone to celebrate their history in Ogden next month. [Standard Examiner]


  • Almost half of Utahns have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. [Tribune]

  • Utah health officials bring in mobile COVID testing sites to help meet demand. [ABC4]


  • Extreme heat is making Zion National Park dangerous for visitors. [Tribune]

  • Drought, fireworks, wildfires, oh my! What Utahns and the West need to know about summer 2021. [DNews]

  • Utah water company forced to raise rates, urges users to conserve. [FOX13]

  • Ransomware attack hits a Summit County water district. [Park Record]

Local Government

  • Layton council adopts water-saving landscaping requirements for most new development. [Standard Examiner]

  • Weber County to probe possible expansion of jail’s medical, mental health facilities. [Standard Examiner]

  • Records committee denies appeal in case over Utah County commissioner’s text messages. [Daily Herald]

  • Former DWR central region chair appointed to Utah Wildlife Board. [Daily Herald]

  • North Ogden bans all fireworks amid extreme drought. [FOX13]

On the Opinion Pages

  • New name for Dixie State properly looks to the future, Editorial Board writes. [Tribune]

  • Jonathan Wood: Threatened rule improves incentives to recover endangered species. [Tribune]

  • Sarah Bauman: America wants its national monuments, and so does Utah. [Tribune]

  • Donald A. Falvey: Let park managers manage their national parks. [Tribune]

— Tribune reporter Connor Sanders contributed to this report.

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