Utah’s governor says mistakes were made during the COVID-19 pandemic
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Governor Spencer Cox admits mistakes were made when working to control the spread of COVID-19 within the state.
One key issue Cox addressed with Washington Post senior writer, Frances Stead Sellers, was not providing enough concrete information to the public about the contagion. To Cox, competing interpretations about the severity of the pandemic played a role in residents distrusting the government and health officials’ expertise.
Cox highlighted the mask debate as an example. At the start of the pandemic, when Cox was Utah’s Luetient Governor, he says they encouraged Utahns to wear masks.
However, Cox claimed they received pushback from the medical community, “telling us that masks didn’t work and that we shouldn’t be encouraging people to wear masks, that we would be giving them a false sense of security,” Cox told Sellers in a Facebook live Thursday.
Shortly after, Cox says medical professionals backtracked their comments regarding masks.
“That all flipped once some of the data started coming back and they said “Actually, no. Masks are really important and their one of the only tools we have to mitigate the spread of the virus and we should be encouraging masks,” Cox remarked.
Situations such as this proved to be a hindrance in the fight against COVID-19, according to Cox.
“Unfortunately, that led to more distrust when we do have good data and science,” Cox said. “It’s been harder to convince people to follow the data and science.”
Politics played a role in COVID-19 mistakes
Another area Cox believes could have been avoided is bringing politics into a public health crisis.
“I think we made mistakes on the right coming into the pandemic and on the left coming out of it,” said Cox. “And not trusting the science when it came to the outdoors and vaccinations,” Cox added.
Altogether, Cox said a COVID-19 response mistake was involving politics in the discussion to begin with.
“Politics have become a religion, politics have become a sport, politics have become entertainment,” said Cox. “And I think it’s a mistake.”