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Utahns rally for health officials — not politicians — to determine COVID policies

SALT LAKE CITY — A couple hundred individuals rallied on the state Capitol steps Saturday in favor of letting health officials make public health decisions instead of politicians.

Signs showed that people are "for public health" while other signs talked about saving lives or listening to science.

The attendees are frustrated at the Utah Legislature majority's actions to outlaw mask mandates across the state and asked for local control and health department control over health issues. While the group sat on the steps, people who are dealing with longer-term effects from COVID-19 in themselves or family members spoke as well as doctors, public health officials, teachers and students.

Chris Phillips, president of the Utah Concerned Coalition, said the coalition includes people from various counties and political backgrounds, and is full of parents and community members who care about the health of children.

"Our governor and Legislature belittled public health tools like masking because, on their own, they're imperfect. But our COVID defenses aren't intended to be used on their own. Our knowledge of what works well and what doesn't work well, has advanced so far. Today, we have in our disposition a number of good tools that can serve together as a solid defense, but our Legislature has made it nearly impossible to truly use these tools in our communities — even in the face of a crisis," Phillips said.

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