Idaho Gov. Brad Little urges residents to get Covid vaccine

Idaho Governor Brad Little on Friday urged state residents to get vaccinated against Covid, citing concerns about the Delta variant and its potential to stifle economic progress.

“We’re just asking everyone to get vaccinated,” Little said on CNBCs.The exchange. “

Little said his biggest concern and “one of the most damaging things” to the economy would be if children don’t go to full-time school in the fall and parents stay at home with them. “This is going to slow the economy down, so we want the vaccination rate to go up and protect our Idaho citizens,” said Little, a Republican who took office in 2019. He was previously the lieutenant governor.

Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with around 46% of residents aged 12 and over being fully vaccinated and nearly 51% receiving at least one dose, according to the state health department. Both numbers are behind the national value.

In the US as a whole, 58% of Americans 12 and older are fully vaccinated, while 68% received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of the entire American population is now fully vaccinated against Covid, a White House official Tweeted Friday in front of the CDC posted the data on his website.

That Number of daily cases is also on the rise in Idaho as the highly contagious Delta variant devastates largely unvaccinated parts of the country.

Has little fail impose a statewide mask mandate, though some counties and a dozen or so cities in Idaho have enacted local requirements to help contain the spread of the virus. Late May, little an implementing regulation repealed except for mask mandates, which Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin issued while he was at a conference.

“I believe in empowering businesses and local governments to do the right thing,” Little told CNBC. “We are advocates of vaccination and do all health protocols to contain the spread, but we are very concerned about” the Delta variant.

Little said he hopes more residents who get vaccinated will demonstrate the benefits to those who are reluctant to get the vaccination. “Every day that goes by that more people are vaccinated and protected means their neighbors, friends, family members are aware,” he said.

Despite short-term Covid worries, Little said Idaho’s economic activity continued to be strong. He noted that the population of Idaho one of the fastest growing in the US

“We’re worried about the new line and some more positivity rates, but we have a great booming economy here right now,” he said.