Physician: ‘We Need To Limit Social Gatherings’ As COVID-19 Continues To Spread

Oct 28, 2020, 9:59 PM

MURRAY, Utah – As the coronavirus continues to spread in Utah, doctors are increasingly worried about the level of care they will be able to provide in the weeks to come.

Dr. Todd Vento, an infectious diseases physician with Intermountain Healthcare, shared his three greatest concerns with the trajectory of the virus on Wednesday.

Vento said the rise in COVID-19 cases comes from allowing Utahns to get back together in small social gatherings in schools, at home and elsewhere in their communities.

“It’s people saying, ‘it’s OK to get together with my brother and his children, and my sister and her children, and bring them over for Sunday dinner.’ Now, we’ve got 15 people in the house,” said Vento.

People are mixing their quarantine bubbles in close contact with other groups, increasing the likelihood that somebody in one of those groups has been exposed to the virus.

“Everybody who is in a different nuclear family, or a different group that has their own exposures, and then that group has its own exposures. You’re just increasing your likelihood of exposure,” Vento said.

Three Biggest Concerns

First, Vento said Utahns are not doing a good enough job wearing masks in all situations and social distancing.

“We’re not even close to the level of adherence to the measures that will stop the spread of disease in the community,” he said.

Vento said that is apparent in complacency with small gatherings.

“That’s my biggest concern because it’s at the source of everything,” he said.

Second, not following those COVID-19 guidelines puts pressure on Utah’s hospitals, and their resources, especially health care providers.

“Now, we cannot provide the level of care that we are actually capable and competent to provide,” Vento said. “We just can’t, because we’re overwhelmed by sheer numbers.”

Third, not enough leadership at all levels, from elected state officials to community and school leaders.

As dire as the situation is right now, Vento said the state should give daily briefings on the status of the virus with continued public education that helps cut through misinformation and disinformation.

“So that you get as many people in the public completely informed and you actually target any disinformation,” he said. “You have to have leaders who are in charge.”

He thinks state leaders should be telling the public what the situation is, what they need to do — and how to do it.

He said we all need to be thinking about the same things that work to break the transmission of the virus whenever we leave the house.

“I should be telling myself: ‘If I don’t social distance, and I don’t do a mask, I’m going to run the risk of probably getting the virus, which will affect people, hospitalizations, deaths and it will also affect the economy,'” Vento said.

The message to the public has not changed since the spring, he said. Utahns need to social distance and mask up in order to limit the spread of the virus.

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Physician: ‘We Need To Limit Social Gatherings’ As COVID-19 Continues To Spread