Bernick Mug 01

Well, we are four months into the coronavirus in Utah and we’re actually worse off than when this all started.

And how are some of us acting?

Down in the conservative bastion of Utah County, a crowd of angry face-mask-haters showed up to a county commission meeting to yell with (I hope) non-coronavirus breath that they won’t be fooled into wearing masks.

And a day later, Gov. Gary Herbert was pressed by reporters to the point of actually criticizing the group -- saying that their action was “foolish,” a “mistake,” but the governor is still waiting to see if voluntary mask-wearing can drop the seven-day rolling average of new virus cases below 500 by Aug. 1, now less than two weeks away.

Herbert is hopeful we can get there without a mandatory mask-wearing order.

I’m less optimistic.

Thursday we had 954 new cases, although that includes some odd number-counting including older cases just now getting added.

But as Utah falls further and further behind in trying to stop the virus spread, at least we can say we’ve come up with some cool new virus-fighting slogans:

“55-day moonshot.” Something to do with driving down the virus by Labor Day, a call to action like President John F. Kennedy’s putting an American on the moon by 1969.

“Take the Pledge” and “Stay Safe to Stay Open.” The Salt Lake Chamber’s attempt to get businesses to adopt coronavirus safety measures to help keep their employees and clients from getting the disease.

“No Shame or Blame.” Don’t get mad at people who don’t wear masks or shame them in public places -- that just makes them be even more stupid than they already are.

“Slow and Stop the Spread.”  Which is pretty much self-explanatory.

We are no longer using “Crush the Curve.” Because we did crush the curve several months ago by basically sheltering in place. But we decided not to do that anymore, which has led to the (some would say obvious) result of spikes in coronavirus outbreaks.

I have to say, there have been so many changes/variations/exemptions to Utah’s color-coding system that I’m just utterly confused.

Thursday, Herbert said in Salt Lake City, which is still officially “orange,” but as far as opening the city’s school district, students, teachers et al. will officially be in “yellow.”

That’s so the Salt Lake City School District won’t be “disadvantaged” in trying to open its schools -- which we don’t yet know how that will be done -- because it’s important that all schools are basically doing the same things, but only as each of the 41 individual school districts will decide, because all districts are not the same, and the governor won’t order how opening schools will be achieved, except to say that all schools will be open in some manner, but individual plans will likely have to change, like he just did in Salt Lake City, as we see how things go in August and September, but by then we hope Salt Lake City will be in “yellow,” however, we can’t say that now, even though Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall wants mandatory face-mask wearing, which is in place in Salt Lake County, but not statewide because even though Herbert says he has that power constitutionally to do that he’s waiting to see if we can “crush the curve,” (a term we aren’t using anymore) before Aug. 1.

You with me on all of this?

Good, because I don’t know what the hell is going on.

My daughter is staying with us for a bit as she finishes up her Ph.D. art history dissertation and she heard Herbert’s Thursday press conference from another room and walked into my office after it was over to say: “All he’s saying over and over again is 'wear a mask.' But what is really happening?”

I told her to read my Friday column and all would be made clear. Or not.