Iowa Avoids Reality Where Protecting People From Pandemics Is Considered Bad Policy
I am so old that I remember governors back to Herschel Lovelace. Now I am not saying that I remember all of their policies nor their political nuances. What I do seem to remember is that when we had a crisis of the day most would actually do something, not just tuck their tail between their legs and go hide. I can’t imagine a one of them that would not have taken the virus on mano-a-mano.
But not our current governor. Reynolds acts as if she does something to disturb the corona virus on its path to infect the whole of Iowa she will be somehow punished. So she mostly says “Hey, good luck out there, Iowa! Try not to get sick. But it is not my job to do anything to help you.” Imagine perhaps the most memorable of Iowa’s latter 20th century governors, Bob Ray, surrendering like that. I can’t.
Bob Ray would get department heads together and put together plans. He would face up to the virus around the state. Bob Ray would have led by putting on a mask.
For that matter, I believe the first Terry Branstad would have done the same. Chet Culver was a governor who seemed to relish leading by doing. He was also demanding, sometimes to the point of making himself look bad. But he was leading.
What about Harold Hughes? My recollection was that he would pursue what he believed was right with religious fervor. He was dynamic and seemingly larger than life.
What we see in Kim Reynolds is someone who is more than happy to downplay the seriousness of A PANDEMIC in order not to upset her business supporters. There was little secret that Reynolds clearly saw the major stakeholders in Iowa as the business community and no one else. That is why her decisions have been pretty much what the business community wanted – keeping meat packers going while keeping their incidence rates secret, opening bars and restaurants despite data that it was the wrong thing to do.
Thanks to Reynolds approach she has turned Iowa into one of the most dangerous spots in the world. Right up there with the Dakotas as a great place to get the corona virus. We are now clocking in at around 5,000 new cases a day! 5,000! Our positivity rate is, I believe, over 30%, well beyond the 5% that ids recommended as the rate at which to start shutting the state down. We are keeping schools open beyond even Reynolds extremely high positivity guidelines.
So let’s do a little math. Iowa is nearing 200,000 cases. Now that may seem small in comparison to our 3,000,000 of population. That leaves 2,800,000 left to infect in the state.
But if we are adding 5,000 to that infected chunk, it will dwindle fast. At 5,000 per day by New Year’s Day we will have (170,000 + (5,000/day X 46 days) ) = 400,000 cases. That would leave 2,600,000 uninfected. If we keep up at 5,000/day for the next year on New Year’s Day of 2022 Iowa will have (400,000 + (5,000 uses/day X 365 days)) = 2,225,000 or about 75% of Iowans. Another 5 to 6 months and statistically all Iowans will have been infected. Or maybe at some point Iowa will reach that somewhat mythical “herd immunity.”
Think about this. While we heard from Pfizer that they have a sure fire vaccine, we have not heard that from any 3rd party independent agency such as the CDC or the FDA. While many are staking the future on this vaccine, there are many very big challenges to approving this vaccine, distributing and administering such a vaccine. Remember the Pfizer vaccine requires special handling in super cold storage.
So it is possible that with the total lack of any planning on Reynolds part which has led to the incredibly high rates that Iowa is suffering through, coupled with the lack of planning from the Trump administration and the enormous challenge of approving, manufacturing and distributing the Pfizer vaccine or any vaccine for that matter, Iowa is still looking at a long haul while the virus will still be transmitting almost unrestricted.
Hope is wonderful, but it must be tempered with a dose of reality. Kim Reynolds stint as governor has been a trip in a fantasy world. She has literally put Iowans lives at risk as she continues to refuse to make Iowans do what is needed to do to make life safer in this state.
Iowa does not have recall for elected officials. They should. When a public official screws up this badly, there should be some consequence, but there isn’t.
Maybe I am wrong. I hope I am badly wrong. Many of us have been warning that Reynolds cavalier attitude toward corona virus safety would lead us to where we are now. And it has. Yet she acts as if it is just another day, that the deaths and illnesses are just so much clutter in her life.