SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Amid soaring coronavirus numbers in Utah, Dr. Deborah Birx recommended no extended family gatherings in the state through the holidays.
“Really, asking the people of Utah, for the next 30 to 60 days, to really follow these guidelines which include not gathering outside your extended household,” said Dr. Birx in a 2News local exclusive interview. “And I know there are a lot of extended households in Utah. This is the moment to protect those that we love.”
“So no gatherings with extended family members is your recommendation through Thanksgiving, through Christmas, through New Year’s?“ 2News asked.
“Until we can show that Utah is flattening the curve,” she replied.
If everyone in Utah does what we ask — wears the mask as the governor is asking, doesn’t gather past their household right now, flattens the curve, protects the hospitals, Then we can have a discussion about what that looks like.“
She urged people in the state “to do everything they can in this moment,” and said “then we can have those celebrations in the new year, and end of the spring.“
Gov. Gary Herbert noted his two-week order includes no gatherings with extended family — an order that could be extended.
“Do you agree with that recommendation?“ asked 2News.
“Well let me say, I respect the recommendation from Dr. Birx,” replied Herbert, who signaled reluctance to apply his no extended family social interactions to Thanksgiving.
I think it’s so contrary to the culture of Utah,” said the governor. “Thanksgiving is a time for families to get together.“
He said state recommendations for the holidays will be coming next week.
In terms of flattening the curve, Dr. Birx said COVID daily numbers should drop from the nearly 4,000 Thursday to the “low hundreds.”
Related article: COVID Task Force Doctor: Utah needs to test certain asymptomatic people more often