Some Utah lawmakers say the governor is overreacting to COVID-19

Rural lawmakers in Utah warn Gov. Gary Herbert the state is overreacting to the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures to slow the spread of the virus could do significant damage to the economy.

The letter, signed by 18 rural lawmakers, says the response from the state government to COVID-19 is not proportional to the danger presented by the virus.


Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.


“As of yesterday (Monday), the total deaths attributed to the virus stands at ninety. Not nine hundred, not nine thousand. Ninety. This number is sure to rise in the near future but we need to keep our wits about us,” the letter said.

Sixty-six cases of the virus have been confirmed in Utah as of Wednesday night. Herbert has ordered a two-week “soft closure” or public schools. The state has also ordered restaurants to suspend dine-in services for two weeks to help prevent the spread of the virus. Colleges and universities have all gone to online-classes.

The 18 lawmakers say those preventive steps will do little to slow the pandemic. They believe the virus is matching the traditional lifespan of any respiratory virus outbreak, which they say usually peaks in February and March, then taper off as the weather gets warmer.

“The irony is, that as we frantically push for more viral tests to be performed, we give the illusion that the steep incline of confirmed cases represents the actual slope of the spread of the virus. This confirmation bias leads to elevated panic, quarantine, and irreparable economic damage,” the lawmakers say.