Commentary: Utah needs a detailed plan to fight COVID-19
By Thomas Wright, Dan Hemmert, Mike Schultz, and John Dougall for the Salt Lake Tribune
It is hard to believe how quickly the world and our lives have changed since Jan. 19, when the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the United States. It has been just over two weeks since Utah reported its first case on March 6 and, Sunday, we just experienced our first fatality. The state is facing its greatest challenge in decades.
The COVID-19 outbreak is happening so fast it has been challenging to formulate a thoughtful plan that prioritizes the public’s health and safety while simultaneously balancing other societal concerns. But it’s past time for Utah to have our own actionable plan that is clearly communicated, based on the best science that we have.
Just last Friday, state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said, “The rate of (virus) increase has been consistent this week, it’s been about a 50% increase this entire week from day to day.”
Simple math shows what will happen as the exponential growth continues. Utah had 112 cases Friday. The same growth rate means Utah will have about 1,900 cases by next Friday. The following week will end with 33,265 cases. Assuming 10% of those cases will need critical care, Utah will need 3,326 beds. Time is of the essence.