‘Politics Is Turning into Sport and Leisure’

Utah Republican governor Spencer Cox on Sunday deplored the “deeply worrying” political polarization in America, saying that partisanship has hampered his state’s vaccination rate and other efforts to contain the virus.

“Politics is becoming religion in our country,” said Cox CBS‘Face of the nation. “Politics is becoming sport and entertainment in our country. That everything is political. It is a big mistake that has led us to make wrong decisions in this pandemic and in other phases of life. It is deeply worrying.”

In May, Biden set a benchmark to fully vaccinate 160 million adults and ensure 70 percent get their first dose by July 4, but the country is at least weeks away from the target. 149 million adults are now fully vaccinated and around 66.7 percent have received at least their first vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox said he was “deeply concerned” about the political polarization in America in his statements on Independence Day.
George Frey / Getty Images

A new poll by Washington Post-ABC News showed strong resistance to the vaccine taking republican, with only 45 percent saying they received their first dose compared to 86 percent of those surveyed Democrats. Twenty states – including California, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania – hit Biden’s 70 percent target, but Utah, a conservative state with a high percentage of younger people, was below the national average of 64 percent.

The poll results came amid warnings from the president Joe Biden and dr. Anthony Fauci that the delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is more contagious than other variants and poses a greater risk to the unvaccinated.

US surgeon general Vivek Murthy warned on Friday that the delta variant would “double almost every two weeks” and would continue to spread rapidly in areas with low vaccination rates. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said an estimated 25 percent of all active cases of COVID-19 were due to the variant.

Cox expressed concern about the threat and urged vaccine skeptics to “get the vaccine now”. He added, “It’s very simple and very easy. Those are deaths that don’t have to happen, hospitalizations that don’t have to happen.”

Fauci appeared ABCMeet the press on Independence Day to warn of expected virus spikes in areas with low vaccination rates. He also urged conservatives and anti-Vaxxers to “put their differences aside” and get vaccinated.

“We are dealing with a historical situation in this pandemic and we have the tools to counter it,” he said. “So for God’s sake put all these differences aside and realize that the common enemy is this virus and we have the tool, a highly effective tool against this virus.”

Newsweek reached out to Cox’s office for further comments. This story is updated with every answer.