‘We Will Get Through This’: Former Gov. Leavitt On Case Surge & Vaccine Arrival

Dec 4, 2020, 9:22 PM

Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who also served as Health and Human Services secretary during the Ge...

Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who also served as Health and Human Services secretary during the George W. Bush Administration. (KSL-TV)


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Practicing health guidelines over the winter months will be pivotal to saving lives as we await the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who also served as Health and Human Services secretary during the George W. Bush Administration.

“I actually think we need ought to be quite hopeful and optimistic,” Leavitt said. “We will get through this, but we have to get through the next few months.”

Leavitt said he expects the surge in cases to most likely continue with the colder weather and people spending time indoors.

“There’s also extraordinarily good reasons for us to take the precautions that are necessary to avoid contact with the virus for us or for other people we love,” Leavitt said.

Vaccine Distribution

While he expects some logistical problems, Levitt predicts the COVID-19 vaccine distribution to be efficient.

“We’ll look back on this as one of the truly great scientific achievements of this century,” Leavitt said.

Because of the lessons learned during this emergency vaccine development, Leavitt said the way we approach vaccine making will be forever changed — although not all vaccines will require the same rapid timetable.

“I intend to take the vaccine the moment that it is appropriate for my situation to be offered the vaccine,” he said. “I’ll be there because I’m confident it is safe.”

Leavitt said the vaccine development didn’t just happen because of the government. He said private sector organizations were also devoted to the endeavor.

“Those involved really deserve our credit, respect and appreciation,” he said.

The vaccine comes at a time of presidential transition and Leavitt said he was glad to see that President-elect Joe Biden asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to continue his role as chief medical adviser.

”President-elect Biden, though in a different party, I must say he is organizing a very well-thought-out transition,” Leavitt said. “He’s bringing in people who have vast experience and I think the government will benefit from that.”

Presidential Transition

The quick, 75 days of a presidential transition is something Leavitt knows a lot about after creating the plan for then-candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.

The process starts in the spring, and by Election Day, the candidates have substantial teams in place, Leavitt explained, reminding that at the end of each election cycle, someone gets disappointed.

“We built a great ship but it never got to sail,” Leavitt said of his work with the Romney transition committee. “But the reality is that’s the nature of transition planning.”

Leavitt now serves on the advisory board for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition, which was created using the documents and framework he helped develop for Romney.

“Until 2010, presidential transitions were very informal,” Leavitt explained. “In fact, to a large degree, they took place in secret because candidates were worried that if they were seen as preparing to transition that it looked as though it was presumptuous and that their opponent would clearly attack them because they were measuring for drapes in the Oval Office.”

The result of that was that was very little done in advance of Election Day and little was written about what should be done, Leavitt said. Now it’s an obligation, by law, of a candidate to begin a transition process.

”It’s so important because it’s a big job to be able to put a team on the field, organize a cabinet, create the White House and 4,000 other positions that need to be filled,” Leavitt said.

Leavitt has been involved in all presidential transitions since 2012 and is confident with the current shift of power taking place.

“I am briefed with some regularity on their progress and I’m happy that now the Trump team and the Biden team are working together,” Leavitt said. “They have people actually working in the same room.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

The van losing control on the highway almost hitting UHP Trooper Juan Branchini. (Courtesy: Utah Hi...

Brianna Chavez

UHP trooper avoids potential crash, credits drivers for slowing down

A close call for some drivers in Layton Friday morning after a van slid across HWY 89 going northbound due to snow on the road.

6 hours ago

The "Star Spangled Babies" event. (KSL TV's Mark Wetzel)...

Michael Houck

Operation Homefront, Kent’s Market host ‘Star-Spangled Babies’ baby shower for local military mothers

The "Star-Spangled Babies" baby shower welcomed 75 new and expecting Utah military mothers on Friday. 

8 hours ago

Noah McArthur (left) in the hospital with his mother, Christine Sara (right) (Courtesy: Christine S...

Emma Benson

Local school district making changes after 3 students hit in crosswalks

After three teenagers were hit by a car in the last year, Wasatch School District is implementing new safety features on their city's streets.

9 hours ago

An artemia shrimp in a tank. (KSL TV)...

Jeff Dahdah, KSL TV

Great Salt Lake preservation key for global food security

A valuable food resource that supplies the world, could disappear with the Great Salt Lake if water levels are not maintained.

10 hours ago

Brighton Ski Resort (Mark Less, KSL TV)...

Alex Cabrero

Utah’s fastest lift opens at Brighton Resort

This lift is all about speed. It brings 2,400 people up to the top each hour. That's a thousand more than the old Crest lift.

10 hours ago

Blair Barfuss, the new Riverton Police chief. (The City of Riverton)...

Eliza Pace

Riverton Police Chief leaves office

Police Chief Blair Barfuss with the Riverton Police Department is no longer the Police Chief according to Riverton City. 

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

‘We Will Get Through This’: Former Gov. Leavitt On Case Surge & Vaccine Arrival