Unpublished White House Report Calls For More Restrictions In Utah Counties

Jul 17, 2020, 7:02 PM | Updated: 7:44 pm
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 08:  White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx speaks as U.S....
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 08: White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx speaks as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. and Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, listen during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the U.S. Department of Education July 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. Vice President Pence and the task force members discussed the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic and the reopening of nation's schools in the Fall. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – An unpublished document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended 18 states, including Utah, revert to tighter restrictions in hotspot counties.

That 359-page report, dated Tuesday, July 14, was obtained by a reporter at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington D.C.

It said specifically “the trend in recent days is very concerning in Utah. If actions are taken early, there can be a dramatic decline in cases.”

“Scientific experts are confused about why this information isn’t posted publicly and regularly,” said Liz Whyte, the reporter with the Center for Public Integrity who obtained the unpublished document from a source.

She doesn’t know why the report was never released because the White House has not responded to her questions about it.

“They never handed it to reporters. They don’t post it publicly,” she said. “So, the Center for Public Integrity obtained it and is sharing it with Americans.”

The document categorized Utah as one of 18 states in the red zone. That means Utah and 17 other states had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents last week. Utah actually had 140 cases per 100,000 residents last week.

According to the data from the White House document, Utah was in the yellow zone for case positivity with last week’s rate of 8.9 percent. States enter the report’s red zone at 10 percent.

The report characterized Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties as hotspot counties.

“They are asking hotspot counties to close down bars and restaurants, encouraging mask wearing,” said Whyte.

It also recommended gatherings of no more than 10 people.

Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties represent three-quarters of new Utah COVID-19 cases over the last three weeks.

“We’re seeing a lot of the same kind of lockdown type measures being encouraged in these hard-hit counties,” said Whyte.

The recommendations are tighter than Utah’s orange phase, but they do not reflect a complete return to lockdown.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s office responded with a statement: “The White House sends us regular reports on Utah’s COVID-19 status, including data and recommendations. The data seems to correspond well with our own data, and we appreciate their suggestions. Those recommendations generally track well with the actions our state and local health departments are already pursuing, though of course our actions are more targeted on the specific circumstances of our outbreaks.”

The Utah Department of Health provided this statement: “The White House Coronavirus Task Force has published weekly state-specific snapshots for several weeks now. The report provides a concise look at the current situation in Utah. We share these reports with our partners throughout the state, and they are just one of the many considerations we take into account when determining how the state can limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The state’s COVID-19 measures currently, however, are not as stringent as the recommendations in the document.

“It clearly reflects the insistence of the White House that states and localities lead the coronavirus response,” said Whyte. “But it’s also kind of a concession to those states who want clear guidance on what they should be doing and want to know what federal scientists think is best.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

flu shot tripledemic...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The rise of respiratory viruses and COVID’s impact

It’s not even winter yet, and the CDC is warning that the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses, which are taking a toll on hospitals and children.
3 days ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

US clears updated COVID boosters for kids as young as 5

The U.S. on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5, seeking to expand protection ahead of an expected winter wave.
2 months ago
Alex Cabrero and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Sandy woman shares frustration of ongoing battle with COVID-19

As life starts to return to normal from the pandemic, for millions of Americans, it still causes a daily struggle. That's the case for one Sandy woman, who shared her story Tuesday.
2 months ago
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
2 months ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Jed Boal

Despite reaching 5,000 deaths, Utah’s COVID-19 numbers are down

The director of the World Health Organization said yesterday about COVID-19, “the end is in sight,” even if we are not there yet.
3 months ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
LAURA UNGAR AP Science Writer

Is COVID-19 winding down? Scientists say no

New booster shots have arrived and social distancing guidelines have eased but COVID-19 infections aren't going away anytime soon. Experts predict the scourge that's already lasted longer than the 1918 flu pandemic will linger far into the future as the virus continues to cause deaths and may well mutate or evolve into a new disease.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Unpublished White House Report Calls For More Restrictions In Utah Counties