Fifty Tooele County residents have died as a result of COVID-19 since the first death in our community on Oct. 1, 2020. And no, that number has not been inflated to make more money for hospitals or doctors. Each death has been reviewed by the state Office of the Medical Examiner to make sure it meets standards that have been set for people whose lives have been cut short by COVID-19.
If you think this is “just another flu,” from 2017 to 2019 the average number of deaths in Tooele County from flu/pneumonia per year was 6.6, making our toal COVID-19 deaths over the last 10 months 7.7 times our average annual flu deaths.
When this pandemic started we wore masks, avoided crowds of people and followed other personal sanitation guidelines to help prevent or slow the infection of ourselves and others by this novel virus that has been proven to be shed by people that may have little or no symptoms of an infection.
But now we have a vaccine that, despite what you may have read or heard, is deemed safe and effective by the overwhelming majority of our medical community.
And now it’s time.
If you are among the 28,489 people in Tooele County that have been fully vaccinated, we thank you. If not, it’s time to get vaccinated.
That’s the advice of international, national, state, and local public health authorities.
39.4% of Tooele County residents have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
The vaccine works at preventing illness from COVID-19. Although fully vaccinated people have been cautioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear masks when indoors in areas of high transmission to prevent them from unknowingly becoming silent carriers of the virus.
The number of deaths among breakthrough cases in Utah is less than 0.0009% of all the fully vaccinated people in the state as of Aug. 2. That’s nine ten-thousandths of a percent.
It’s time to get vaccinated.
But we aren’t suggesting a government vaccine mandate.
The word “mandate” is, and probably ought to be, a scary word in a free society, although we live with mandates every day — smoking in public places is forbidden and we are required to stop for red lights and stop signs. Some people ignore these mandates, with consequences.
Decisions about health are personal decisions. And we respect that. People may choose not to vaccinate for a variety of personal, health, or religious reasons.
However, it’s time we encourage the remaining 60.6% of Tooele County residents to make the choice to get fully vaccinated to prevent COVID-19.