COVID-19 in Utah: One year later

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In the past year, the world has faced a lot. Some losing family and friends to COVID-19, others isolated or struggling financially.

At the state’s weekly conference, Governor Spencer Cox told ABC4, “Today marks the day when I think it became real.”

March 11, 2020, was the day Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell came down with COVID-19, putting Utah at the forefront of the pandemic.

NBA announcers heard saying on national television, “And they are taking these players off the court.”

Gov. Cox says,  “The next day the NBA shut down and so many other institutions and facets of our lives began to change.”

Rudy Gobert would tell us, “I wish I would have took this thing more seriously.”

On March 18, 2020, Utahns were rocked again by a 5.7 earthquake in Magna.

A West Valley City Woman told ABC4’s Marcos Ortiz, “I remember waking up and shouting out to my kids, ‘it’s okay!'”

11-days after the pandemic officially began the state officials would make an important announcement.

“It is with deep and sincere sadness that we’re here to announce our first COIVD-19 released death here in Utah,” says State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.

He was a Davis County man, over 60 years old, and would be the first of more than 2,000 Utahns to lose their lives to the coronavirus.  

By the end of March, Two Chinese students would say were sprayed with Lysol at a Cedar City Walmart and told to go home.

Christian Phomsouvanh with the Weber State University Asian Student Involvement Association told us at the time, “I feel like a lot of my family members are kind of in this panic where they don’t want to go outside or they don’t want to interact or do anything because they’re afraid that they will have racist remarks.”

Over the next few months, Utahns made masks, we began to see spikes with the virus, and Unified Fire converted its brush truck into an ambulance to answer the high demand in calls.

By May 30, frustration over the death of George Floyd spilled over onto Salt Lake City streets.

A man was seen pointing a bow and arrow at a crowd, a police officer pushing an elderly man down, and a police car set on fire. There was damage to buildings and by nightfall, explosions occurred before law enforcement regained control of the capitol city.

By December, the FDA approved an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer Vaccine, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson would soon follow allowing Utah to give its one-millionth shot.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson tells us, “It will be coming in the next few days and we are really excited about that milestone.”

There’s no doubt for many face coverings became a center of controversy in 2020. It’s an issue our new governor hopes won’t be a problem in 2021. Gov. Cox had the following to say on people who disagree with private businesses requiring masks:

“Please act with respect to your fellow human beings. If you go into a business, and they are requiring you to wear masks, wear masks. Don’t yell at the clerk. Don’t yell at the store manager. Don’t make a fool of yourself because you don’t want to wear masks. The government after April 10th in those settings will not require masks, but businesses absolutely have a right to require masks and if you don’t like it, go shop somewhere else,” says the governor. “You don’t need to be a jerk you come into contact with, conversely if you go into a restaurant and a table is closer to yours than maybe what you think, don’t yell at the waitress and tell her you want people six feet away from you. If you don’t feel comfortable going out and eating at a restaurant because you’re at risk, then get take out. Ok, We have to treat each other with respect, alright, this is not a free for all. We live in a society and we should care about each other, and if you don’t care about other people, then don’t go to places where other people are.”

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