With schools set to open in the coming month in spite of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths, I have only one question for all of Utah: When will the body count become unacceptable?
Will it be 500? 1,000? 2,000? More? As of July 31 there have been 304 deaths from COVID-19 in Utah. and there will be more by the time this is published. Based on the actions, and inactions, of our elected officials and business leaders, 304+ deaths seem to be an acceptable cost to preserve the economy.
Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive. Having watched my wife and one of my daughters hospitalized with COVID-19 and being unable to even sit with them was horrible. Three hundred deaths are too many. So are 2,377 hospitalizations and 40,196 total confirmed cases. These numbers are climbing at an alarming rate. These numbers come from the state health department.
If we are serious about stopping the carnage, why have only 16% of Utahns been tested? Utah needs to provide free testing to all residents regardless of insurance. Utah also needs to adequately fund the contact tracing program, postpone reopening schools, continue to curtail large gatherings and require the use of masks in all high-risk counties through an executive order. Even those who live in the low-risk counties need to wear masks when coming into the high- and moderate-risk areas. The state has $1 billion of taxpayer money in the rainy day fund. It is time to wake up, Governor Herbert — it's raining COVID.
Think of it this way: Every one of us for whom these losses are acceptable and who fail to act are complicit in causing death and needless suffering. We are so much better than this.
Peter M. Nelson, Holladay