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Utah Gop Gov. Problems Mask Command Is A Day After The Election Defeat Of Trump

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With coronavirus cases in Utah “growing at an alarming rate,” Republican Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statewide mask mandate and state of emergency in Utah on Sunday.

The latest measures come a day after President Donald Trump—who repeatedly downplayed the pandemic this year, saying the virus “affects virtually nobody”—was defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Trump was reported to have had 58.4 percent (759,583) of the vote in Utah, nearly double the 37.7 percent (489,465) Biden had, as of Sunday, according to data compiled by Reuters.

As of Monday, total confirmed cases in Utah have surpassed 132,600, with 659 reported deaths since the outbreak began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Herbert said in a video message shared on Twitter: “The number of infections in our state is growing at an alarming rate…we report record hospitalizations and new deaths day after day. Our hospitals are full.

“Tonight [Sunday] I am addressing a new state of emergency to address overcrowding and to protect our intensive care unit capacity.

“Businesses must require employees to wear masks and to promote mask wearing to patrons and to visibly post signage to that effect. Those who fail to do so will be subject to fines from the Labor Commission,” the governor said.

In addition to the mask mandate in place until further notice, Herbert banned residents from all casual social gatherings with people outside their household for two weeks.

“Data tells us that we are most vulnerable to infection in casual social gatherings…therefore, by order of my office and the Utah Department of Health, Utahns may not participate in or host casual social gatherings with individuals other than those in their household for the next two weeks, which is the incubation period,” the governor noted.

Organizers of public events that do not adhere to the required precautionary guidelines, including social distancing and the wearing of masks, will be subject to fines of up to $10,000 per occurrence, Herbert added.

The seven-day rolling average of daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Utah has been rising sharply since early September, after remaining flat for most of the outbreak, according to the latest figures from the Utah Department of Health.

The average count rose sharply through early November, peaking at 2,715 on November 7, after flattening out from mid-July to early September. The figure flattened out from March to late May, before increasing through mid-July, according to JHU.

The governor’s latest guidelines also follow months of Trump downplaying the risks of COVID-19 and the benefits of face coverings through most of the pandemic, despite the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calling on Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection.

Back in late February, Trump said: “We’ve done an incredible job. We’re going to continue. It’s [COVID-19] going to disappear one day. It’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

During the presidential debate held in late September in Ohio, Trump said: “I don’t wear a mask like him [Biden], every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Just days after the debate, Trump confirmed he and his wife Melania had tested positive for the virus.

Back in April, Trump said: “The CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. So it’s voluntary, you don’t have to do it. They suggest it for a period of time but this is voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.

In a press release on July 14, CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said: “We are not defenseless against COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus—particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

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