COVID-19 Crisis in Iowa
An eye on the data: Key numbers during crisis
• Iowa COVID-19 death count 1,265 in 86 counties
• Total positive cases pass 80,000 as pace remains strong — about 700 in daily average increases


Updated Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Sept. 20, 2020) — Iowa coronavirus deaths reached 1,265 by the weekend as positive COVID-19 cases passed the 80,000 mark and continue to rise at a strong pace, averaging about 700 a day.

Data as of Sunday night show deaths statewide during the pandemic to have reached 1,265, with overall positive cases since early March at 80,410. Most of the daily increases in cases and deaths reported by the state on its website do not reflect changes for that day or the previous 24 hours, but new information about overall totals due to revisions to previous days’ reports.

The seven-day rolling average provides one indicator of the trends in the state, and by that measure, the increase in positive cases held above 600 per day for 34 straight days — even including what appear to be very preliminary results for Saturday and Sunday. The seven-day average as of Sunday was 692, which is likely to be revised upward, after six straight days above 700.

The COVID-19 health data below are from the Iowa Department of Public Health, most reflecting data released by 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The counts typically change throughout 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 next graph shows fluctuations in the daily number of new cases, while the shaded area shows the one-week rolling average throughout the pandemic in Iowa.

COVID cases statewide
Eighty-six counties — about 6 of every 7 Iowa counties — have had death reports attributed to the pandemic. Twenty-seven counties are in double digits in fatalities, the most recent additions to the list Emmet and Monroe counties.

Total COVID-19 deaths have risen by more than 50 in 10 days. A week ago, they stood at 1,252, while on Sept. 6 they stood at 1,207.

Economic Impacts
New unemployment claims show jobless Iowans need greater protection

While Iowans thrown out of work wait for Congress to address unemployment insurance during the current emergency, the state recorded 5,689 new unemployment claims in the week ending Sept. 5.

Analysis throughout the pandemic has shown that through most of this recession, the initial claims number has been well above the level at similar points during the Great Recession. In the last 25 weeks, claims have been 436,421 of the total of 453,426 over the 32 weeks of this recession. The magnitude of this recession can be understood by the observation that the average increase in initial claims has been 14,170 — higher on average than any single week during the same 32 weeks of the Great Recession.

Common Good Iowa is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research and analysis organization with offices in Des Moines and Iowa City. It was created by the recent merger of the Child and Family Policy Center in Des Moines and the Iowa Policy Project in Iowa City..

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'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