‘The Rundown’: Are vaccine passports really a big deal?

Your Monday morning Utah political cheat sheet

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Are vaccine passports really a big deal?

It’s good to be back with you all again after I was away for a week on vacation. I hope you didn’t miss me too much.

I had the good fortune last week to take a short trip to New York City. The city had just enacted a requirement for people to show proof of vaccination to gain entry to many businesses. I ran into the mandate a few times, mostly at restaurants. It wasn’t a problem at all, and it gave me a little more peace of mind as I moved about Manhattan. Sure, I had to carry my vaccine card with me, but there was an app available to New York residents,

The highlight of my trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Bruce Springsteen at the St. James Theater on Broadway. The show was amazing. (The 2018 run was recorded for Netflix and is worth a viewing.)

Again, I had to use my “vaccine passport” to gain entrance to the show. It took all of 15 seconds to show my ID and vaccine card to the person at the door. The only inconvenience I suffered was altering my schedule to show up a bit early to navigate the line. Not a whiff of tyranny anywhere.

Although the audience had been vaccinated, mask-wearing was required inside the theater because of the surge in COVID-19 cases. Even “The Boss” wore a mask when he took the stage (he removed it when the show started).

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to do this show again and see all of you. And I’m glad to see you all are doing your part and wearing a mask to keep your neighbors safe,” Springsteen said at one point.

On Friday, the band Counting Crows canceled their concert slated for Red Butte Garden because state law does not allow the University of Utah to mandate vaccines. Red Butte is part of the University. The band requires ticket holders to prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of a negative test.

The band said the decision was made to prioritize the health and safety of fans and their crew.

In my limited experience, the vaccine and mask requirements were barely an inconvenience.

Here’s what you need to know for Monday morning

💉 Full FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is “imminent” and could happen as early as today. [NYT]

😷 Masks will be required in Summit County elementary schools if the positivity rate for COVID-19 reaches 2% in the student population. [Tribune]

🚨 More children are being hospitalized with COVID-19, and doctors are worried it’s going to get worse as schools reopen. [WSJ]

🦠 The Navajo Nation’s fight against coronavirus has gone much better than in many American states. 70% of the population is fully vaccinated. [Tribune]

🦠 The first deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19 may have happened much earlier than originally thought. Death certificates indicate the initial deaths occurred in January of 2020 in several states before officials said the virus was circulating there. [San Jose Mercury News]

💉 Former President Donald Trump was booed by the crowd at his rally in Alabama over the weekend when he suggested they get vaccinated against the coronavirus. [NBC News]

🏥 The rapid spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant is causing a shortage of healthcare workers. Some governors are warning the lack of doctors and nurses could lead to a lower level of care for patients. [Politico]

🦠 Mississippi is ordering people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate at home, or they could face up to 5 years in prison. [Fox News]

🐴 “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” The FDA warns Americans against using ivermectin, which is commonly used to treat parasites in livestock, to treat COVID-19. [Twitter]

🏛 The House of Representatives gets back to work on Monday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will try to find enough votes to pass a $3.5 trillion budget proposal, but a group of moderate Democrats is threatening to block the spending plan. [WSJ]

🪖 The chaos continues in Afghanistan. President Joe Biden may extend the August 31 deadline for removing U.S. troops from the country. The Taliban has reached out to Moscow for help as they work to form a new government. [NYT]

💥 A gun battle involving Western military forces erupted at the Kabul airport on Monday as guards traded fire with unidentified shooters. [Reuters]

❓ Rep. Blake Moore will introduce legislation to force the Biden administration to explain what went wrong with their plans for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. [Tribune]

🏛 Sources say President Biden is not planning to fire senior national security officials over the botched withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. [Axios]

✈️ The U.S. is turning to commercial airlines to help evacuate people from Afghanistan. [Reuters]

🇸🇬 Vice President Kamala Harris is in Singapore to strengthen ties in the region to counter China’s growing economic influence. [Reuters]

👀 The report on the sham “audit” of election results in Arizona will be delivered to the GOP-led state Senate on Monday. [CNN]

🚽 One possible solution to Utah’s water woes could be a high-tech system that recycles toilet water to provide high-quality drinking water. [Tribune]

Monday’s Utah news roundup


  • ‘We don’t want dark days:’ Afghan refugees in Utah express fear over Taliban’s takeover. [Tribune]

  • Wolf Creek water district halts new service for development as drought stretches on. [Tribune]

  • Activists float balloons in Little Cottonwood Canyon, to show what a gondola would do to the view. [Tribune]

  • ‘Rise up and create miracles’: Speakers at prayer vigil for Afghan refugees share how we can help. [Tribune]

  • This generation’s ‘fall of Saigon’: Utah veterans shocked to see America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. [Deseret News]

  • CIA paranormal program finds new life in Utah. [KUER]


  • ‘Sense of betrayal’ — Latter-day Saint ICU doctor laments that more aren’t vaccinated. [Tribune]

  • Surging COVID cases cause Tabernacle Choir to postpone resumption of rehearsals. [Deseret News]

  • Navajo Nation issues vaccine mandate for tribal workers. [KUTV]

  • Digital COVID-19 vaccine records encouraged in Utah. [Fox 13]


  • Bus driver shortages and latest challenge hitting schools in Utah and across U.S. [AP via Trib]

On the opinion page

  • Desperation in Afghanistan brings fear and hope in Utah. Robert Gehrke explains how Utahns can help. [Tribune]

  • Accepting Afghan refugees may not be easy but it should be done, the Editorial Board writes. [Tribune]

  • Angry chemistry teacher needed to go but she had some valid points, George Pyle writes. [Tribune]