Utah Gov. Gary Herbert Imposes Mask Mandate During Coronavirus Surge
Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert imposed a mask mandate Monday to last “for the foreseeable future” after a surge in coronavirus cases caused him to declare a state of emergency.
Herbert, who had supported wearing masks but stopped short of imposing a mandate, backtracked after the state had a 46 percent increase in coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, NBC News reported.
“We cannot afford to debate this issue any longer,” Herbert said in a tweeted video Sunday. “Individual freedom is certainly important, and it is our rule of law that protects that freedom”:
Due to the alarming rate of COVID infections within our state, tonight I issued a new state of emergency with several critical changes to our response. These changes are not shutting down our economy, but are absolutely necessary to save lives and hospital capacity. #utpolpic.twitter.com/BuSNBsCbiz
— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) November 9, 2020
Herbert issued the mandate the same day coronavirus cases hit 50 million around the globe and before the drug company Pfizer announced Monday that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trials showed the vaccine was 90 percent effective at preventing infections.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement, according to NBC News.
“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity, and economies struggling to reopen,” Bourla added.