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Utah doctor: ‘We are in a race between vaccines and variants of concern’

University of Utah Health Testing
Posted at 5:35 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 19:58:23-05

SALT LAKE CITY — COVID-19 cases in Utah are declining, showing a positive trend.

It shows people in the state are doing the right things in terms of social distancing and wearing masks, according to Dr. Brandon Webb, an infectious diseases physician with Intermountain Healthcare.

“I think it is a factor of two things. One is that people are doing a good job staying committed to social distancing and mask-wearing, and at the same time as we get more and more people vaccinated,” he said.

READ: Utah counts 591 more COVID-19 cases, one additional death in post-holiday report

More than 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Utah. More people getting vaccinated coupled with the number of Utahns who have had COVID-19 in the last three months is adding to the number of people immune to the virus right now, Dr. Webb said.

“Everything that we are able to do at the state level, at the Department of Health level and as a community engaging in the vaccination process will pay off as we, as a state, try to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible so that these variants of concern don’t have an opportunity to take seed,” he said.

READ: Third case of COVID-19 variant found in Utah

We are in a race between getting people vaccinated and the new COVID-19 variants coming to the state, Dr. Webb said.

“We are concerned and cautiously watching them. If these variants become dominant, especially the U.K. variant which appears to be most common in the U.S. of these variants, if one of those is able to become a dominant feature and out-compete the current strain, that could cause our case numbers to go up again,” he said.

READ: Utah doctors ask people to double down after UK variant found

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