Good Wednesday morning Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.
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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
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]
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]
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.