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“A pandemic of the unvaccinated:” Gov. Cox, state leaders update Utah COVID-19 status

Gov. Spencer Cox and other Utah state leaders updated the COVID-19 situation in Utah from St. Mark's Hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. Photo: Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Governor Spencer Cox called the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases in Utah a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” in an update from a local hospital reeling from the case load. 

He joined state leaders and healthcare leaders from St. Mark’s Hospital calling for more Utahns to seek out the vaccine.

“We’re continuing to see not only an uptick in cases and case counts but in hospitalizations,” Cox said. 

“What we know is that the delta variant is highly contagious and spreading rapidly. As a result, our hospital ICUs are filling up and our healthcare workers are feeling the strain.”

Utah COVID update: Hospitalizations rising, more deaths among younger people

Cox went on to share that today, 367 people across Utah need hospitalization for COVID-19. A month ago there were 266; yesterday, the state reported 15 more Utahns passed away from the virus.

“Seven of them were under the age of 65. 65 and younger is far too young to die from something that is almost completely avoidable,” Cox said.

He noted now that the number of younger people in Utah who have died from the virus is much greater than it was last year before vaccines were readily available. 

“This is, as I’ve said many times, a pandemic of the unvaccinated. According to some of the CDC data that was leaked last week, unvaccinated people are 8.3 times more likely to be infected than vaccinated people.

“They are 25 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 24 times more likely to die from COVID than unvaccinated people,” Cox said.


“Talk to your doctor if you still have questions. There is so much misinformation out there and there is so much data that proves the vaccine is safe and effective. It is truly the miracle that we’ve been praying for, so please don’t put it off any longer.” Cox said.

He went on to add that there is only so much that they can do at a state level and now it is up to the residents of Utah to make their decisions.

A note on masks

“I know the CDC has recommended masks for indoor gatherings,” Cox said. “We will likely see more businesses require masks, and that is absolutely their right to do so, and everyone should abide by those requests and wear masks where required to do so.

“The frustrating thing, is that they are doing this, not because those who are vaccinated need to wear masks to protect ourselves, they’re doing this because our hospitals are filling up.

“Throughout this, we have sacrificed for the common good. We all wore masks to keep everyone safe even if we’re not that at risk.

“That’s not what it’s about now,” Cox said.

“The reason you’re asked to wear a mask is that there is a very very small amount of breakthrough cases that could be passed on to someone who is unvaccinated.

“The CDC is asking all of you who are vaccinated to take one for the team once again to protect people who are not vaccinated, but had the opportunity to do so.

“I’m guessing that the Venn Diagram of people who are unvaccinated and willing to wear a mask is very very slim if at all. So I’m grateful that there are people who are willing to sacrifice and wear a mask again to protect the unvaccinated.

“I have to be honest with you, I don’t know if I’m one of those people. I’m really tired, I’m really done with it and I’m not real excited to sacrifice to protect someone who doesn’t seem to care. But I’m glad there are some people out there who are.”

This story will be updated.



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Coronavirus resources

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, 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.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • 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).
  • Obtain a flu shot.
  • Seek out the COVID-19 vaccine.

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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