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Utah GOP​ governor says he won't mask to protect unvaccinated: 'I’m not real excited to sacrifice to protect someone who doesn’t seem to care'


Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox (Chad Hurst/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) recently rebuffed new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that advised vaccinated individuals to wear masks to combat the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant.

What did he say?

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, the governor indicated he would not implement statewide rules based on the new guidance, but not because he isn't concerned with the spread of the virus. Rather, Cox said that he was "tired" of sacrificing to protect unvaccinated individuals.

"The CDC is asking all of you who are vaccinated to take one for the team once again to protect people who are not vaccinated but had the opportunity to do so," Cox said during a news conference.

"I'm guessing that the Venn Diagram of people who are unvaccinated and willing to wear a mask is very very slim, if at all," he continued. "So I'm grateful that there are people who are willing to sacrifice and wear a mask again to protect the unvaccinated.

"I got to be honest with you, I don't know if I'm one of those people. I'm really tired, I'm really done with it and I'm not real excited to sacrifice to protect someone who doesn't seem to care," the governor said. "But I'm glad there are some people out there who are."

The governor's words could be interpreted as a smear against vaccine refusers, but it's doubtful that his charge will have any effect on them since most unvaccinated individuals presumably do not expect vaccinated people to wear face coverings to prevent them from catching the virus.

What else?

The governor has been outspoken in recent weeks about the need for Utahns to receive the vaccination, claiming that widespread inoculation is the key to defeating the pandemic and should be acceptable regardless of religious or political beliefs.

Cox — who has called the coronavirus a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" — told constituents recently to listen to their religious leaders, including the pope and Russell Nelson, the current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, both of whom have touted the vaccine.

And "if politics is your religion," he added, "then believe Donald Trump, who was so instrumental in getting this vaccine to us, who got the vaccine himself and has encouraged others to get the vaccine." He also pointed out that President Joe Biden has received the vaccine.

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