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Letter: Herbert order is too little, too late

(Rick Bowmer | AP file photo) In this April 15 photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wears a mask during a news conference, in Salt Lake City. Herbert declared a state of emergency, Sunday, and ordered a statewide mask mandate in an attempt to stem a surge in coronavirus patient hospitalizations that is testing the state's hospital capacity.

While it is good to finally see Gov. Gary Herbert get off dead center and initiate a bit stronger emergency health order, it unfortunately falls short.

Not to include specific restrictions on risky businesses will seed new hot spots of infection that will challenge the already inadequate contact tracing. And the capacity for increased testing hasn’t been planned for, so not ready to take immediate effect.

We already have more than 20% of Utahans infected walking around unbeknownst. To get enough people tested is going to take way longer than the two weeks covered by this new emergency order.

While our medical experts continue to perform with herculean excellence, our state leaders — Herbert, Governor-in-Waiting Spencer Cox, State Senate President Stuart Adams or Speaker of the House Brad Wilson — clearly fail to understand the inertia of the pandemic and the lag time required to take into account changing efforts to ramp up and hold long enough to truly be effective. Unfortunately, we are stuck with this leadership hierarchy.

We are in the thick of cold weather that is forcing people to be indoors. That will last for at least the next five months. For Herbert and soon, Cox, to not maintain the emergency order through the entire winter will assure we will only be stretching out the time we must suffer well into the middle of 2021, and the third of our population, the elderly, remain at greatest risk because of insufficient and ineffective measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Marv Poulson, Salt Lake City
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