Monday, March 08, 2021

Welcome to Iowa: "America's COVID Playground"

An old acquaintance, Todd Dorman, has a witty (and devastatingly accurate) piece in today's Gazette (Cedar Rapids-Iowa City) poking fun at a move in the Iowa Legislature to once again rewrite the welcome slogan that greets visitors at our various borders. It's currently, "Fields of Opportunities," dating from the Vilsack administration.

I'd link to the story, but my allotment of free-access articles has just expired, I already subscribe online to three newspapers and am not about to add another. But you'll be able to Google it yourself, if interested.

One of his suggestions: “Iowa — America’s COVID Playground. Masks optional!”


I traveled back in the archives of this blog to see when I first wrote about the virus and discovered that the date was March 11, 2020, so it's been a year of pandemic and modified isolation, many Zoom meetings and a three-point life most of the time --- home, the museum office and Hy-Vee. I'm due to get my first shot on Tuesday, thanks to Lucas County Public Health, among the consistent institutional heroes of this troublesome time.

That March 11 post was unremarkable and contained the prevailing advice at the time: Social distancing and frequent hand-washing. Masking came along a little later, but never officially in Iowa, administered by Trumpian disciples led by Gov. Kim Reynolds or COVID-Kim as we sometimes call her.

At the time, there was very little to report in Lucas County, a rural backwater if ever there was one, and Iowa numbers were low, too, thanks mostly to our distance from major population centers.

That of course has changed. Iowa now has recorded approximately 340,000 cases of the virus and 5,559 deaths --- the equivalent of a town larger than most Iowa county seats. And we rank at the bottom of states in speed and efficacy of vaccine distribution.

The most recent Lucas County statistics, shown above in Public Health's Friday report --- 731 cases and 21 deaths.


The number of new cases in Lucas County had been in decline lately, but has trended upward during the last week. So the advice remains the same --- maintain social distancing, wash your hands a lot and wear a mask when gathered with others outside your immediate circle. Get inoculated when you can.

We've now moved to the point where people 64 and younger living with chronic health risks are eligible for the vaccine and are being scheduled.

But there's really no indication that Iowa is capable of launching the type of mass inoculation program needed to protect all of its citizens. So we're still kind of on our own as the governor and the Iowa Legislature focus on how best to keep Iowa "America's Very White Marshmallow Center" (another Todd Dorman suggestion).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frank, Your Blog should be syndicated. Your "musings" are much better than Over the Coffee which I read when I first moved to Iowa. OTC was fixated on boys wrestling, ("it should only be engaged in by sexually mixed participants"), and girls basketball. OTC was humorous but usually w/o real political analysis. Thanks for your postings. Curt D.