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‘The Rundown’: The pandemic is far from over

Your Tuesday morning Utah political cheat sheet

"The Rundown" logo

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

✉️ Got a news tip? Some interesting political gossip? Just want to chat about politics? Send me an email or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.

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The pandemic isn’t over

It may seem like the COVID-19 pandemic is in the rear-view mirror, but some data points are worth paying attention to.

  • Data from the Centers for Disease Control show the U.S. recorded more than 20,000 daily cases for the past four days. That hasn’t happened since May. That sharp uptick in the number of cases is extra alarming as the highly transmissible Delta variant is rapidly becoming the dominant strain in the U.S.

  • According to Gallup, this is most likely related, but the number of Americans who are now practicing strict social distancing is now fewer than one in five (18%). Almost half of Americans (47%) say they’re not attempting to isolate themselves from non-household members. Combine fewer people social distancing and wearing masks with a more infectious variant, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble.

  • Vaccination rates are...not great. The Mayo Clinic reports 55.7% of the U.S. population has had at least one dose, while 48.2% are fully vaccinated. In Utah, 62.9% of the 18-64-year-old population has received at least one dose, as has 96.4% of those 65+. Just under half (49.9%) of Utahns between 18-64 are fully vaccinated. 67.7% of the 65+ population are fully inoculated.

  • Utah reported more than 1,200 new cases of the virus over three days this weekend, with 6 more deaths.

We’re not out of the woods yet. Be careful.


Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday morning

Utah news

  • Utah lawmakers plan to move ahead with legislation to regulate how social media platforms moderate content online. Other states are running into legal hurdles as they attempt to pass bills aiming at social media companies. [Tribune]

  • Gov. Spencer Cox apologized Monday for falsely claiming the state hit the goal of vaccinating 70% of adults against COVID-19. Cox said the premature celebration was based on a data error by the Utah Department of Health. [Tribune]

  • The ACLU is speaking out against the decision to charge a 19-year-old in southern Utah with a hate crime for allegedly damaging a “Back the Blue” sign. [Tribune]

  • An investigation finds 38 Utah police officers have been involved in multiple shootings since 2004. [Tribune]

  • Is “water shaming” an effective way to cut down on excessive water usage during the drought? [Tribune]

National news

  • On Monday, legislative Democrats in Texas fled the state to stop Republicans from passing a controversial bill to restrict voting access. They may have to stay away from Texas for several weeks. [NYT]

  • The GOP’s top lawyer warned former President Donald Trump’s legal team that continuing to push the false claims about election fraud a “joke” that could mislead millions of people. [WaPo]

  • “Just say we won.” A new book claims former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani “may have been drinking too much” when he suggested the former president should claim victory on Election Night no matter what the early results showed. [WaPo]

  • A federal judge in Michigan tore into Trump-allied lawyers who pushed the baseless claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent. The judge is considering imposing sanctions on them for filing a frivolous lawsuit seeking to overturn the results. [WaPo]

  • Cuban authorities arrested activists following the historic protests that took place over the weekend. Leaders blamed the protests on “U.S. interference.” [Reuters] The Biden administration expressed support for the Cuban people. [Politico]

  • Support for the bipartisan infrastructure deal is getting wobbly. Some Republicans are growing worried about using stepped-up enforcement by the IRS to pay for some aspects of the plan. [Politico]

  • Trump-appointed Social Security commissioner Andrew Saul, who was fired by President Joe Biden last week, defiantly vowed to continue working. He apparently was shocked to find his access to government computer systems was revoked when he tried to log in on Monday morning. [WaPo]

  • The Trump Organization removed Alan Weisselberg as an officer of some of its subsidiary companies after being indicted on tax fraud charges. [WSJ]

  • The new child tax credit payments will start hitting bank accounts this week. [CNN]

  • Several of the men involved in the assassination of Haiti’s president had ties to U.S. law enforcement. [CNN]

  • The FDA added a warning to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine about a rare neurological reaction. [AP]

  • U.S. regulators pressed representatives of Pfizer for more information as the company seeks authorization of a COVID-19 booster vaccine. [NYT]

  • According to a new report from the United Nations, almost a third of the global population went hungry in the last year. [Guardian]

  • The Taliban is rapidly moving northward in Afghanistan as U.S. forces continue to pull out of the country. [AP]


Tuesday’s Utah news roundup

Utah

  • BLM to remove ‘excess’ wild horses from Utah’s beloved Onaqui herd. [Tribune]

  • After discovering their shared cheating boyfriend, 3 Utah women moved into a bus to see the West together. [Tribune]

  • What Mitt Romney says U.S. should do after EU calls for diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics. [DNews]

  • Poll: Utahns widely concerned about inflation now, and into the future. [DNews]

  • Can the $300 million ‘troubled teen’ therapy sector be reformed by legislation and public pressure? [DNews]

  • Utahns can visit loved ones in prison again, but no hugs just yet. [KSL]

  • Pandemic relief for small Utah businesses: What’s left? [KSL]

  • Hill AFB, RMP complete solar project, will seek more energy savings amid future growth. [Standard Examiner]

COVID-19

  • There were 1,200 more cases of COVID-19 in Utah over three days this weekend, and six more deaths. [Tribune]

  • Former skeptic has a message for Utahns who think they don’t need the COVID-19 vaccine. [DNews]

  • ‘Our staff is tired’: St. George Regional Hospital seeing a surge of COVID-19 patients. [KUTV]

Environment

  • LDS Church cuts water use, says it’s heeding Utah guidelines for watering. [Tribune]

  • Heat warning expires Monday night, but then there could be flash flooding in southern Utah. [Tribune]

  • Busy Utah emergency rooms seeing more heat-related illnesses. [KUTV]

  • Wildfire air pollution is likely to get worse in Utah. [KUTV]

  • Boat ramps closing at some Utah reservoirs amid record low water levels. [ABC4]

  • US Forest Service helibase plan by Pineview Reservoir scrapped due to opposition. [Standard Examiner]

Local Government

  • Sean Petersen nominated to Fourth District Court vacancy; Senate seeks public comment. [Daily Herald]

  • Park City prepares to appoint a new city attorney. [Park Record]

On the Opinion Pages

  • Renters are losing out to Airbnb, and Utah won’t let cities help them, Robert Gehrke says. [Tribune]

  • Kimball Shinkoskey: Utahns don’t care about public health. [Tribune

  • Fault is not in our stars (and stripes) but in ourselves, George Pyle writes. [Tribune]


🎂 You say it’s your birthday?!!

Happy birthday to former Rep. Rob Bishop who is now a member of the state’s independent redistricting commission and former Utah State University President Stan Albrecht.

Got a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space? Send us an email.

— Tribune reporter Connor Sanders contributed to this newsletter.

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