Today I received a Daily Kos email titled: “Coronavirus info in Utah” which reinforced my concerns about all Utahns. I immediately contacted Gov. Gary Herbert, hopefully along with many other Utahns. I'm now troubled, even angry, by the disastrous inaction from the governor about the global pandemic that is not getting serious or intelligent management by Utah officials. Below is what I wrote to him today, April 2, 2020:
Gov. Herbert, I still haven’t heard back from you nor seen any better decisions about COVID-19. So I’m writing today as a Republican over the years to ask for some real leadership.
To refresh your memory, here’s what I wrote March 27: “Governor Herbert, like many Utahns I've been waiting for Lt. Gov. Cox and you to give some leadership in the present crisis. What's it going to take to get a rational policy for the state of Utah about the Trump Coronavirus pandemic? Please stop acting like the irresponsible delays of states like Texas, Florida, NC, Mississippi, etc. PLEASE start giving us effective and protective leadership! Thanks!” It’s now been 7 days of inaction. So far there have not been any real new and meaningful initiatives. Of course, I only have a Ph.D. in the social sciences, so I’m not an epidemiologist. Maybe your staffers are more prepared, but the news conferences have been dismal while our state’s disease growth increases and deaths rise.
While states like Michigan, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey, are led by governors taking real leadership to protect their citizens in this epidemic of the Coronavirus, you folks are doing a milquetoast approach, merely asking people to stay home for the next two weeks to slow down the spread of the pandemic. It’s not got any teeth in it and will be totally ineffective as tons of data and scientific trends show around the world and across the USA. We need a mandatory shelter-in-place order, not naïve hope that inaction will protect us. Utah’s plea to merely be more safe and wise is meaningless as we see folks living as usual around the state. You say the home “is the safest place you can be to limit your exposure to other people.” That’s true, but it doesn’t mean people aren’t going to leave their homes if there is no clear policy. Just look at Florida where crazy DeSantis ignored reality.
Thank goodness for wisdom and genuine leadership from other political leaders like Jenny Wilson, mayor of Salt Lake County, and Erin Mendenhall, mayor of Salt Lake City. We as a state need more government leadership in this area by such people. Otherwise, businesses and restaurants stay open and will never provide a decent level of social distancing or proper hygiene. Waiting two more weeks means more and more deaths of Utahns.
Yes, I know the majority of Utahns approve of Donald Trump‘s three-month-long inaction about the Coronavirus outbreak across the country (58%). More incredibly to me is the fact that Utah citizens overwhelmingly approve of our state’s response to the pandemic (81%). Laisse-Faire is deep in our culture. So it was in Italy and Spain.
At least the wiser leaders in Summit County and Wasatch County are taking intelligent initiatives and issuing stay at home orders. Apparently, your GOP legislators aren’t speaking out either, but they’ve never exhibited much courage about anything. So we tread water with your faint and wishful thinking that things will get better naturally. You and your buddy, Mr. Cox, make no demands for public safety. Merely hopes, and probably prayers.
What a tragic failure of leadership. May God bless those many families who will suffer, as loved ones die, and thousands suffer at home and in healthcare facilities across the state. All this as Utah officials turn away from the coming realities, waiting for perhaps better days.”
(Signed: Prof. Warner Woodworth)