Nearly half of Utahns expect the state’s Covid-19 outbreak in to get worse

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Nearly half of all Utahns believe the worst of the coronavirus is ahead of us, a recent 2News poll finds.

That’s not good news for Gov. Gary Herbert and local public health officials who would like to believe that the worst of the deadly virus is behind us, or happening right now.

Y2 Analytics’ survey finds that even though Herbert et al. have been fighting this virus for more than three months, 49 percent of Utahns say the worst of the virus is ahead of us.

A third of Utah voters — 34 percent — say the worst of the virus’s impact is behind us. While 17 percent said the worst is happening now. “Now” was the time of the survey, June 9-17.

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In a story published Tuesday, 53 percent said the worst of the virus’s impact on the nation is yet to come — a bleak outlook.

Utah’s battle against the virus, led by Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox — who won the GOP gubernatorial primary race last week — started out well; the Beehive State had few infections compared to the population, few deaths.

But Herbert moved the state to a more open (yellow) status a month ago, with several counties going to “green,” which is basically the “new normal” of social distancing while in public.

Herbert has refused to order a statewide face-mask-wearing, although he has allowed several local governments to so order.

And the resulting “opening up” is a nearly-doubling of the daily infection rates, although hospitalizations and deaths have stayed around the same as before — at least for now.

But the new poll shows that Utahns don’t believe the state’s virus infections have peaked. Just the opposite, both on the state and local levels, Utahns say the worst of the virus is ahead of us, not behind us.

Cache County has seen a very real spike of infections in several business locations.

And residents there are really skeptical: 62 percent said the worst of the virus is ahead of them in their own communities. And 41 percent said the worst across the state is happening now, 35 percent of county residents saying the worst for the state is ahead of us.

Salt Lake County has also seen a spike since the state went to “yellow.” Forty-seven percent of county residents said the worst is still ahead in their local community’s virus fight; 59 percent said the worst is still ahead for the state as a whole — also a bleak prediction.

Southern Utah has seen some of the best results in fighting the virus. Y2 finds that 59 percent of Washington County residents say the worst is behind them in fighting the virus locally; while 50 percent said the worst is behind the state as a whole.

As one would imagine, since it is Republican officeholders who are fighting the virus statewide, and likely in their local communities, GOP voters say the worst of the virus’s impacts are behind us, political independents are split on what lies ahead of us, while Democrats overwhelmingly feel the worst of the virus lies ahead — both statewide and in the local communities.

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Women across the state are much more pessimistic about what lies ahead — half say the worst is ahead of us in our local communities, while 59 percent say the worst is ahead of us statewide, showing little faith in what Herbert/Cox has done.

That 59 percent statewide number is 20 percentage points higher than what men believe — only 39 percent said the worst is ahead of us in fighting the virus statewide.

Still, overall, half of all Utahns say the worst is yet to come in fighting the virus — not a good number for all of the governmental/public health officials who hoped that come this summer, Utah would have some kind of a grasp on fighting the pandemic locally.

Y2 polled from June 9-17, 2020, sampling 1,188 respondents with a 5 percent margin of error.