Pioneer Day and COVID-19 concerns

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utahns are lining the streets in anticipation of Friday’s Pioneer Day Marathon and Parade in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s the first time in two years the Capital City will host the festivities. And, folks are back camping in the best spots to see all the action.

“I’ve been doing this since I was little,” says Spring Malone from Murray.

Malone says it’s her family tradition to camp along the route. Something they deeply missed last year because of pandemic shutdowns.

When asked if she was worried about the coronavirus, Malone tells us, “Nope because I’m fully vaccinated.”

Malone was with Suzanne Butler of Ogden. She adds, “No, I’m vaccinated, but we can stay apart as well too. So, it’s time we get back out there.”

Folks camping out for Pioneer Day in Salt Lake City

New data shows 97 percent of the new COVID-19 cases in Salt Lake County are from unvaccinated Utahns.

“If you are unvaccinated, it is your responsibility to mask up, stay physically distanced from other people because this wave that we are seeing right now is of unvaccinated individuals,” says Erin Clouse, the Strategic Engagement Manager for the University of Utah. She’s been tracking the COVID-19 virus and its variants since the beginning of the pandemic.

“So what the numbers are telling me right now is that we are giving the virus chances to get a stronghold again,” she says.

Clouse adds that cases started going up at the end of June.

“So the more opportunities that we are giving it to get to that next person, July 4th gatherings, concerts, family get-togethers, and a significant number of people are unvaccinated, we are just giving the virus more chances to transmit,” says Clouse.

With more than 1,600 new cases in 48 hours, hospitals are beginning to fill up again, and with Pioneer Day Weekend here, Utahns want to get back to normal honoring their heritage.

Orem’s Rick Meeves and his wife were celebrating their anniversary near the Temple.

“It might be a little early to worry about it. I know hospitalization rates are going up, things like that, but for the most part no. Not yet. Not till we have to put masks on and go back undercover,” he says.

Medical professionals and state leaders alike are urging Utahns to get vaccinated. If you’re hesitant to get a vaccine, they say speak to your family physician about it as soon as possible.

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