COVID-19 Crisis in Iowa
An eye on the data: Key numbers during crisis
• Iowa daily positive cases pass 18,300
• Deaths hit 496 as Scott, Louisa counties join 10 other counties in double digits

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Updated Wednesday, May 27, 2020

IOWA CITY, Iowa (May 27, 2020) —The count of Iowa coronavirus cases rose past the 18,300 mark and deaths hit 496 in the numbers released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Governor Kim Reynolds on Tuesday announced a further loosening of limits on businesses, signing a proclamation that extends the health emergency until June 25. The latest order permits a variety of establishments to reopen in the coming days — including bars, wineries, casinos and bowling alleys, among others.

As in the past as she has allowed a reopening of movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding reception venues, certain social-distancing restrictions apply.

Review by Peter Fisher of the Iowa Policy Project shows that eight of the 77 counties where restrictions were first relaxed have become trouble spots.

The previous week, the Governor relaxed previous orders by permitting elective surgery and an opening of farmers' markets with some limitations.

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

The latest data indicates that over the last two weeks, despite the fluctuations in the graph below, the average daily increase in cases has been about 304 (May 14-27). From the first case report on March 9, it took 39 days for a single-day report over 300. Through the first full 26 days of May, only eight days had a case count below 300, though the numbers are in general lower than they were in mid- to late April, with a peak day of 786 positive cases reported April 29.

COVID cases statewide
On Wednesday, Scott and Louisa counties moved into the list of counties, now 12, that have had deaths in double digits. Thirty-seven counties have at least one death, as shown in the map below.

Total COVID-19 cases continue to be significantly higher they were two weeks earlier. They stood at 14,098 on May 13.

COVID cases statewide
Total COVID-19 deaths rose to the current mark from 429 on May 20, and from 342 two weeks earlier, on May 13.

COVID deaths statewide

Economic Impacts
New unemployment claims rising in Iowa way above Great Recession pace

IPP’s Colin Gordon has been reviewing the unemployment claims data and in the graph below illustrates how much more severe the COVID crisis has been than a similar period of the Great Recession in 2007-09. See Gordon's post on the latest numbers on the Iowa Policy Points blog.

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.

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