No vaccine passports for Wyoming, says governor
May 13, 2021
Vaccine passports are unlikely to become a requirement here in Wyoming after Governor Mark Gordon signed a directive last week that says state agencies, boards and commissions are not allowed to require them to access state spaces and services.
“While I strongly encourage Wyomingites over the age of 16 to take the opportunity to become vaccinated against COVID-19, I consider it a personal choice based upon personal circumstances,” states the governor’s directive.
“For example, some are unable to receive a vaccine because of their age, medical condition or religious beliefs.”
Gordon’s directive notes his serious concerns that, “A mandated vaccine passport program has the potential to politicize a decision that should not be politicized.” It would divide citizens at a time when unity is key and harm those who re medically unable to get vaccinated.
The directive specifically requires state agencies, boards and commissions to provide full access to spaces and services to all constituents and comply with federal protections against the nonconsensual release of private patient information, such as vaccination status. Private patient information, such as vaccination status, may only be released with the explicit consent of the patient or their guardian.
Public entities within the state – including counties, cities and towns – are encourage to align their policies with the statewide directive and continue to provide full access to public spaces and services, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Private businesses are encouraged to do the same.
At this time, an estimated 180,000 people in Wyoming have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the governor. In Crook County, 1252 first or single doses have now been administered and 1082 second doses.
The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) lists two additional cases within Crook County over the last week, both of which were added to the official statistics on Monday. This brings the local total to 398 confirmed and 33 probable cases.
The two cases were among a total of 367 new confirmed cases across the state, with the greatest number of those in Albany County, which saw 78 across the week, followed by Laramie County with 66. Only Converse, Hot Springs, Johnson, Platte and Weston Counties saw no change to their number of confirmed cases since last week.
Meanwhile, the number of probable cases across Wyoming has increased by 107. At the same time, a total of 437 confirmed or probable cases were marked as recovered over the last week.
Crook County now has two active cases. Statewide, the number of active cases has increase by 34 over the last week, from 441 to 475.
Three more deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 over the last week, according to the WDH. All three occurred in March and April.
The victims include an older Albany County man who was living at an out-of-state long-term care facility; an older Uinta County woman who was a resident of a long-term care facility; and a Sweetwater County man. This brings the overall total death count to 710.
Death Rate Analyzed
A new report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, suggests the worldwide death toll from COVID-19 may be much higher than previously thought – especially in the United States.
While most mortality estimates rely on the official reports from states and countries across the world, IHME devised a new approach to address the concern that many deaths went unrecorded at certain points of the pandemic – especially in nursing homes – and there also appears to be a discrepancy in some countries between reported deaths and analyses of the actual death rates reported over the last year compared to the death rate that was expected.
The IHME measured the excess death rate during the pandemic week by week compared to what would have been expected based on past trends and seasonality. The study looked at six drivers of mortality that relate to the pandemic.
These included total deaths directly related to COVID-19 infection; increase in mortality due to needed healthcare being delayed; increase in mortality due to mental health disorders; reduction in mortality due to decrease in injuries because of a general reduction of mobility; reduction in mortality due to reduced transmission of other viruses, like flu and measles; reduction in mortality due to chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease due to the fact that frail individuals died from COVID-19 instead.
The analysis estimates that the total number of people who had died due to COVID-19 by May 3 was 6.93 million – more than double the reported total of 3.24 million. The United States remains the country with the highest number of total deaths due to the virus, but the IHME analysis suggests that 905,289 people have been killed by the virus, rather than the officially reported 574,043.