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Utah doctors look back on one-year fight against COVID-19

As Utah crosses the one-year anniversary of fighting against the coronavirus pandemic, local doctors and health officials are reflecting on what they’ve learned. (PHOTO: Primary Children's Hospital)



SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — As Utah crosses the one-year anniversary of fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, local doctors and health officials are reflecting on what they’ve learned.

Doctors discuss what did, didn’t work

As unimaginable as it may seem, the coronavirus case of Jazz star Rudy Gobert wasn’t even a full year ago. It was March 11, 2020, when his positive test was discovered prior to a Jazz game in Oklahoma City.

Right around the same time, local doctors and health care providers were suddenly tasked with formulating and executing a game plan to prevent the spread of a virus they knew very little about.

Doctor Todd Vento, an infectious diseases physician with Intermountain Healthcare, said the lack of information probably lead to some mistakes early on.

“Sometimes folks will interpret that as, ‘Oh, you don’t know what you’re doing,'” he explained. “Well, reality is, we really didn’t. We had a virus that we had never heard of [and] never seen.”

He brings up masks as one example, saying in hindsight, the state and country put themselves in much worse positions in the summer and fall of 2020 by not immediately adopting mask mandates in March.

Additionally, he points out that no one at the time was even thinking about any potential long-term complications from getting the virus.

“Now we find out that [some] people have months and months of symptoms,” said Doctor Vento.

What habits should we continue?

Health officials add that with the tremendous struggles of the past year, it’s easy to gloss over the important lessons that we’ve all been taught. According to Doctor Mark Briesacher, with Intermountain Healthcare, there are a few, although one in particular stands out to him.

“Hand hygiene is by far the easiest and most compelling thing for us to continue to do going forward,” he explains. 

Doctor Briesacher believes that people will be much more engaged and aware of how to stay safe for each flu season in the future. Additionally, he thinks it will take less prodding for people to get their seasonal shots. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States


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