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State leaders work to clear the air amid a slew of misinformation surrounding COVID-19

Posted at 7:48 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 23:30:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Falsehoods about the Coronavirus flourish during the pandemic, particularly online. A common misconception is that COVID-19 is no different than the seasonal flu.

“This is not like the typical flu. This is worse than the flu,” Gov. Gary Herbert said.

State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn said COVID-19 caused twice as many hospitalizations. It is more infectious and far more deadly than influenza, she said.

“Already in five months of COVID-19 in Utah, we’ve had five times as many deaths of COVID-19 compared to the flu season last year which was eight months season. It has already claimed more lives than flu,” said Dr. Dunn.

On Thursday, the state’s COVID-19 death count topped 300.

How are those deaths determined? Not in the way you may think.

Dr. Dunn insisted just because someone is COVID positive at the time of death, does not mean they’re included in the tally.

“We actually investigate those cases to determine that the cause of death is related to COVID-19. So that, if that individual had not had COVID-19, they would not have passed away. All of our deaths are specifically to COVID-19. I’m very confident we are capturing the deaths accurately,” Dr. Dunn said.

Finally, state leaders are confident masks do work. It’s evident in the sharp decline in cases in Salt Lake County, they say, which is responsible for the overall statewide decline in recent cases.

“I have been surprised that wearing a mask has been a political issue. It shouldn’t be political at all. It is good science. It is good sense,” said Gov. Herbert.