September 18, 2020—Salt Lake City, UT
Today, Democratic candidate for Governor Chris Peterson called on Governor Herbert to remove Spencer Cox as head of the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force. Peterson made the request after Utah saw its highest daily confirmed case count on Thursday.
“Under our state constitution and laws, the primary role of the Lt. Governor is overseeing elections and maintaining oversight of lobbyists,” said Peterson. “The Legislature created and funded a Department of Health to oversee public health crises. Instead of acting within his traditional constitutional role, the Lieutenant Governor has crossed out of his lane and usurped the function of the Department of Health. Since then we have seen the State’s COVID response hijacked by unproven and ineffective treatments, defective cell phone software, testing delays, and insufficient protective equipment for vulnerable frontline workers.”
“Lt. Governor Cox is a good person, but, with respect, his expertise has been elections and lobbyists; he should stick to that and let our medical professionals and scientists do their job,” said Peterson. The rolling seven-day average for positive test rates per day is now 11.9%, which is an all-time high for Utah during pandemic. Yesterday Utah Department of Health state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn publicly said, “What makes this so alarming is that we have gotten to this peak of a seven-day rolling average of 661 new cases in one week.” Dunn elaborates on the dire situation the state is in, “During Utah’s first summer COVID-19 spike shortly after Memorial Day, it took nearly six weeks for the state to see a rolling-average at a similar level.”
Utah’s COVID trend is now on pace to match or exceed infection rates previously recorded in New York City and the Navajo Nation. These were two of the hardest-hit places in the United States during the pandemic.
“Hundreds of Utahns will die alone and in pain and our economy will continue to struggle if we do not immediately begin following the advice of scientific experts,” said Peterson. Months ago Peterson called on the Herbert administration to adopt a statewide mask mandate and more stringent COVID response measures.