SALT LAKE CITY — Expressing unbound optimism that has been lacking through the pandemic, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox promised Thursday that he'll be maskless by one of the summer's biggest holidays.
"I'm not going to be wearing this on the Fourth of July," said Cox while holding a mask during his weekly COVID-19 briefing. "And I'm going to be in a parade somewhere ... and we're going to put these in the fireworks and blow them up or something."
READ: Utahns can now receive vaccine in any county; more age groups eligible
Cox's confidence stems from Utah's improving daily case counts which continue to fall at the same time a greater percentage of residents are vaccinated.
"If I'm wrong, then I'll come back here and admit that I'm wrong," added Cox.
But beyond numbers, Cox said he believes sharing positive news is just as important as medicine in ending the pandemic. The governor hopes people see the positive direction and continue to wear masks and following COVID-19 guidelines knowing the end is near.
"We are underselling the positivity of what's happening out there," exclaimed the governor.
Cox reiterated that all Utah adults will be able to receive a vaccine if they want one by the end of April or the beginning of May, but with a caveat.
"We may wrong, that can totally change in two weeks. And if it does, we'll adjust."
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Cox called out the models and doctors who predicted last year that a COVID-19 surge would peak this March and slowly wane.
"Every single one of those models was not just wrong, it was wrong by magnitudes," said Cox. "It doesn't mean that they're bad people. It doesn't mean that they're bad scientists. It doesn't mean that they don't know what they're doing."
"It just means that things changed."
Cox did admit that Utah leaders also made mistakes; in particular, by not issuing a mask mandate earlier than they did.
But instead of criticizing the government's role in the pandemic, Cox shared the example of the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy nearly becoming a place to house ICU patients. Instead, the facility is now a vaccination center, highlighting a government success.
Cox announced Thursday that Utah residents can now get their vaccine shot in any county, not just the one where they live. The state will also allow residents 16-and-up with special medical conditions to receive the vaccine. A list of the conditions that make the new age group eligible can be found HERE.