Feb 28, 2022 - COVID

Colorado governor says to return to normal life, despite concerns

COVID-19 deaths in Colorado
Data: CDC, Axios research; Chart: Axios Visuals

Flanked by medical professionals and flags, a maskless Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Friday urged the state to do the impossible β€” return to life as normal.

Reality check: The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, nor are its impacts.

Public health experts outside Colorado remain cautious, not only about new coronavirus variants, but how loosening restrictions could delay responses to outbreaks.

  • The CDC still advises residents in 23 of the state's 64 counties to wear masks in public indoor places.
  • Those in 17 other counties β€” including Jefferson, Weld, El Paso and Eagle β€” should remain vigilant, particularly if they are at risk of severe illness, the agency said.

Moreover, many people don't even know what normal looks like two years after the pandemic began.

  • More than 12,000 people died in Colorado due to COVID-19.
  • The state counted more than 1.3 million infections that put roughly 60,000 people in the hospital.

Our thought bubble: In Denver over the weekend, life did begin to change...

  • Breweries and restaurants seemed busier than in the recent past.

Yes, but: masks are still common among a substantial portion of people in grocery store aisles.

  • And vulnerable populations are still wondering whether a fourth vaccine is needed.

Between the lines: Even as he acknowledged "there is no claiming victory with regards to the virus," Polis made his declaration with great fanfare and touted his administration's pandemic response, a statement that came days after he launched his re-election bid.

  • In practice Colorado is still in recovery mode. Polis kept in place an executive order regarding the pandemic to ensure the state can obtain federal disaster recovery aid, the governor's office told Axios Denver.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.

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