UPDATE: Iowa City Mayor says he’s prepared to issue shelter-in-place order if Kim Reynolds won’t. Link
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I realize that some of you may not have been tracking this local Coronavirus outbreak closely until recently, and are looking for information. We have been trying to investigate and confirm the outbreak these past few weeks in Iowa City, and we did get confirmation of it back on March 14th (a case of community-acquired transmission).
Here’s a quick re-cap to catch you up:
The 21 Egyptian Cruisers who arrived back in Iowa City on March 3 were highly contagious when they travelled around Johnson County from March 3-7. We know this based on when their symptoms popped and they sought medical attention. Testing subsequently revealed that 16 people had been walking around the community spreading infection since March 3. They were seen at local public events during this window.
Unfortunately, contact tracing and containment efforts by local officials were inadequate with these 21 Cruisers, because they did not realize that asymptomatic people could be highly contagious before their symptoms first appeared. The CDC guidelines they were using had not been updated to reflect the most current scientific understanding about just how contagious and slippery the novel Coronavirus is, even with carriers who are not showing symptoms.
If you can believe it, it was Dr. Fauci himself who announced on January 31st: “There’s no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring.” (link below) Our local protocol did not account for this type of asymptomatic transmission in early March, and the virus escaped into our community.
These tragically flawed CDC guidelines did not prepare our local officials to cast a wide enough containment net. From the start, the United States has underestimated our foe, and that is why the virus is wide-spread in our community right now.
Evidence to confirm this outbreak came when a local DJ courageously announced that he had tested positive on March 14, with a case of community-acquired transmission. He wanted to get the word out that he had been unknowingly contagious in public spaces. The DJ company alerted five bars/restaurants in town where he had hosted events in the past 12 days, his potential exposure window.
This confirmed that we have an uncontained, unmeasured Coronavirus breakout in Iowa City/Johnson County. People all over Johnson County with full symptoms and a doctor’s order for a Coronavirus test were told they could not be tested, because they had not travelled abroad. We never had enough tests to give them, anyway.
But how cruel: their government (CDC) told them they could not get tested, even with a doctor’s order, for a potentially fatal disease that their other government (Iowa Department of Public Health) had inadvertently allowed to escape into their community. Their governments—local, state, and federal—failed them mightily these past 2 weeks.
This is day 23 of the Iowa City outbreak, 23 days since the March 3 exposure window first opened. And here we wait.
Why our local hospital business leaders at UIHC and Mercy think it’s OK to leave us out here to die in those circumstances, I couldn’t begin to imagine. Either they don’t understand the threat, or they are saying it’s OK to weigh human life against logistical planning concerns. I’m not OK with either.
India just locked down 1.3 billion people today.
Johnson County Iowa and our ‘amazing” local hospitals can’t seem to lock down a mere 200,000.