COVID-19 Crisis in Iowa
An eye on the data: Key numbers during crisis
• Iowa total positive cases breeze past 45,000 during weekend, nearing 46,000
• Total death count increases to 877, in 74 of the 99 counties

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Updated Sunday, August 2, 2020

IOWA CITY, Iowa (August 2, 2020) — Iowa passed the 45,000 mark in COVID-19 positive cases during the weekend while total deaths rose to 877, now in three-fourths of Iowa counties.

Total positive tests were at 45,698 Sunday night, following four straight days of increases above 400 through Saturday.

Increased positive cases remain on a pace nearly 400 per day — averaging 391 over the last full seven days' reports, and 377 over the last full two weeks. That level had dipped to below 250 in mid-June, rose to well over 400 recently before dipping below 400 in recent days.

The death count increase reflects a net change, with increases and decreases in revisions to previous official counts. Cass County is the latest county recording a COVID-19 death, bringing the list to 74 of the 99 counties.

Meanwhile, the latest signs in the economy remain difficult with the latest report on initial unemployment claims, which rose last week by 7,441, and by over 403,000 in the last 19 weeks. (See below)

The COVID-19 health data below are from the Iowa Department of Public Health, most reflecting data released by late Sunday evening. The counts change through the day as new information is gathered, and revisions are made in previously reported data. The IDPH dashboard is found here.

The red line in the graph below shows fluctuations in the number of daily new cases, while the shaded area shows the one-week rolling average throughout the pandemic in Iowa. That level was 387 on Thursday, the last full day report, but was at 500 on July 13-14.

COVID cases statewide
Twenty counties have COVID-19 deaths in double digits, and one — Polk — now over 200 itself. Seventy-four counties — about three-fourths the number of Iowa counties — have had death reports attributed to the pandemic.

Total COVID-19 cases continue to be significantly higher than they were two weeks earlier. They stood at 40,471 on July 19.

COVID cases statewide
Total COVID-19 deaths rose to the current mark from 849 on July 26, from 807 on July 19, and 771 on July 12.

COVID deaths statewide

Economic Impacts
New unemployment claims show jobless Iowans need greater protection

Last week, another 7,441 Iowans applied for unemployment insurance. That brings the total, in the 26 weeks since the COVID-19 recession began in February, to about 420,700 — or nearly a quarter of the entire Iowa labor force. Of that, over 403,000 are the change over the last 19 weeks, in which these numbers first spiked. For more, see Colin Gordon’s Iowa Policy Points blog post.

The Iowa Policy Project (IPP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research and analysis organization based in Iowa City. IPP has been tracking Iowa job trends since its founding in 2001.

Worker safety in COVID:
Who gets protection?
State policy is failing workers
Public policies should be assessed on whom they put at risk and whom they reward. The blanket business immunity in SF2338 during COVID-19 comes with a failed record of protecting Iowa workers.
Iowa Policy Points post by Colin Gordon June 16, 2020

Threat to critical state, local Iowa services
State fiscal relief must do more than meet emergency services
Congress must provide more to states and local governments — for the duration of the economic crisis — to avoid drastic cuts in education and other crucial public services.
Iowa Fiscal Partnership brief by Peter Fisher UPDATED May 23, 2020

More IPP, IFP research and perspectives

Understanding the data
• Key Iowa counties to watch. See the latest analysis, through last week, of what data indicate are potential trouble spots in the COVID-19 crisis.
• Why there's trouble ahead for rural areas — faster pace of infection, fewer limits. From trends evident in official data, IPP's Peter Fisher has identified several counties that are apparent COVID-19 trouble spots. In his latest update, he shows 16 counties had 200 or more new cases for every 10,000 people over two weeks. Of those, eight were among 77 counties where Governor Reynolds had eased social distancing restrictions — and six showed a doubling of cases in one week.

Meeting the emergency
• Iowa will need more fiscal relief than Congress has given
• COVID-19 poses threats to Iowa state and local services
• Governor’s metrics still raise questions
• Sheltering the data in place
• COVID metrics in Iowa arbitrary, backward facing
• Iowa's leaders need to better involve the public

The Economy
• Iowa unemployment claims keep rising LATEST — 5/7/20
• Iowa's employment apocalypse
• New solutions needed long term

The Safety Net — Supports
• Expanding SNAP access
• Good start on jobless insurance
• Make Iowa resilient: Strengthen supports

Special perspectives
• Guest opinion: Meatpacking outbreak unsurprising given Iowa laws
• When economists talk health, we'd betterpay attention
• Winston Churchill's words today for Iowa