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Utah lawmaker: State government 'overreacted' with coronavirus response

Rep. Paul Ray wants Utah’s economy to 'completely reopen.'
Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield)
Posted at 3:39 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 17:43:02-04

CLEARFIELD, Utah — Utah State Representative Paul Ray (R-Clearfield) is criticizing Utah’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, calling for government officials to admit they “overreacted” and demanding Utah’s economy “completely reopen.”

“During my time as chairman for Health and Human Services, we dealt with the swine flu pandemic. I remember a discussion with the state and local health departments when it came to their ability to quarantine citizens,” Rep. Ray wrote on Facebook Monday.

“I was told by them that it would not be appropriate to quarantine any citizen who was not ill, that this power would be only used for people who tested positive for a pandemic disease. Thus, my frustration over the current COVID-19 shutdown.”

Rep. Ray cites state data in his assertion that coronavirus deaths are being “hyper-reported,” while influenza numbers are often underestimated.

“It is not standard public health practice to track all cases and deaths due to influenza because many people who get or die from influenza are not tested and influenza is not consistently reported on death certificates - often deaths are reported as "pneumonia,” Rep. Ray said. “Any death regardless of the underlying condition where COVID-19 is involved, are directly related to COVID-19. We are not comparing apples to apples.”

As of Wednesday, the Utah Department of Health reported 5595 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 58 deaths.

“We need to open Utah and allow people to make their own decisions. Encourage compromised individuals to isolate, but don’t bankrupt everyone else,” Ray wrote.