MILLCREEK, Utah — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox channeled his inner-Michael Corleone on Tuesday, saying he believed he was done with COVID-19 briefings after daily cases and hospitalizations had dropped to almost nothing just a few weeks ago.
While he didn't literally come out and say, 'Just when I thought, they pull me back in!," Cox's frustrations with the state's current COVID status, and those who refuse to get vaccinated, were on display as he spoke at St. Mark's Hospital in Millcreek.
As mask requirements once again begin to become part of every day life, Cox didn't hold back on those that remain unvaccinated.
"I’m really tired, I’m really done with it. I’m not really excited to have to sacrifice to protect someone who doesn’t seem to care."
The delta variant has swept through Utah, returning case counts to nearly 1,000 each day; while the death count rose by 15 over the weekend.
Cox shared data that shows unvaccinated people are 25 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID complications, and 24 times more likely to die.
"We’re hearing more and more stories of unvaccinated people regretting their decision not to get a shot in the arm," said Cox. "They wind up on a ventilator or a loved one gets extremely sick. By then, they want the vaccine. But by then it’s too late."
Although his message seemed grim, Cox assured people that it wasn't too late to get the vaccine, and that some who have held out may now be getting the message.
“There are, again, thousands and thousands and thousands of people in our state who are getting the vaccine and will get the vaccine this week. And you can join them, and you can protect yourself. You can protect your family. You can protect your loved ones and you can do this.”
The governor promised he was "not part of some grand conspiracy theory," even pleading with those who have based their vax decision along political party lines.
“If politics is your religion, then believe Donald Trump … who got the vaccine himself and has encouraged others to get the vaccine,” said Cox.
Cox still supports the state's decision to not force residents to get vaccinated, but with a warning to those who will continue to refuse a vaccine.
“That doesn’t mean that we’re free from our consequences, that others won’t choose to require vaccines. Whether that is group gatherings, other events, private events, private employers, others who can require vaccines, who have the ability to do that.
“I’m a person who believes in responsibility. I’m a person who believes in consequences, and if you choose not to get the vaccine, then those are the consequences that may happen.”
A day after the Utah Department of Health issued recommendations that all K-12 students and staff wear masks while indoors this fall, Cox said his office would provide masks for any student that wished to have one.