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

Sep 15, 2022, 5:00 PM
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccination center on Feb. 11, 2021. (Photo by Matic Zorman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matic Zorman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 5000 virus related deaths, this week. The director of the World Health Organization said yesterday, “the end is in sight,” even if we are not there yet.

Despite the stunning number of deaths during the pandemic, Utah’s COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction.

When asked whether Utah was nearing the end of the pandemic, State Epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen said it depends on the definition of the end.

“We’re going to have Covid with us for a long time,” Nolen said. “It’s going to cause sporadic disease. It’s going to cause waves. But, it’s very different than what we’ve dealt with for the last two years. So the dramatic deaths, the dramatic waves, hopefully we are past that.”

COVID-19 is still circulating in Utah communities. But, Dr. Nolen said the virus is nowhere near the levels experienced during the last 2 1/2 years.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,487 new cases of COVID-19 during the past week and 12 more deaths. The daily average for confirmed new cases over the past week was 355.

But, Nolen points out that testing is incomplete because many people are using at home tests now.
COVID-19 is acting somewhat predictably, she said, and hopefully that continues.

“There is still Covid in this state,” the state epidemiologist said. But it is not at super high levels, right now.”

But, COVID-19 has surprised health experts around the world before.

“We could be wrong,” Nolen said. “There could be mutations that cause a new wave to come through that is really dramatic. But, it seems like we are getting to more of a stable place where we’re going to have waves that come through that affect us but don’t cause much death and don’t cause much disease.”

Boosters that target the omicron variants are available.

“I would definitely recommend that everybody go get that,” the epidemiologist said.

Each of the last two years, the virus spiked in the winter and that could happen again this winter.
But, for now…

“People should take advantage of this time,” Nolen said. “I want everybody to be safe and healthy, and have a good time.”

As many people learned earlier in the pandemic, it’s important to know your own risk, and the risk level for those close to us, and take precautions accordingly.

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