COVID-19 Crisis in Iowa
An eye on the data: Key numbers during crisis
• Iowa total positive cases pressing toward 48,000
• Total death count increases to 915


Updated Friday, August 7, 2020

IOWA CITY, Iowa (August 7, 2020) — Iowa’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 915 on Friday as the positive case count rose toward the 48,000 mark with over 1,200 new positives in less than three days.

Increased positive cases have been on a pace of 381 per day over the last full two weeks, and 371 per day over the last full seven days.

Meanwhile, the latest signs in the economy remain stressed as the latest report on initial unemployment claims rose two weeks ago by 6,765, and by about 427,000 during the COVID-19 recession. (See below.)

The COVID-19 health data below are from the Iowa Department of Public Health, most reflecting data released by Friday 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 371 on Thursday, the last full day report, but was at or above 500 each day from July 11-16.

COVID cases statewide
Twenty counties have COVID-19 deaths in double digits, and one — Polk — is now over 200 by itself. Seventy-five counties — three-fourths the number of Iowa counties — have had death reports attributed to the pandemic. Lyon County was the latest to join the list this past week.

Total COVID-19 cases continue to be significantly higher than they were two weeks earlier. They stood at 42,796 on July 24.

COVID cases statewide
Total COVID-19 deaths rose to the current mark from 885 on July 31, from 842 on July 24, and 800 on July 17.

COVID deaths statewide

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, 6,765 more applied for unemployment insurance. The level is remaining steadily in the 6,000 to 8,000 range in recent weeks. The latest figures brings the total over the 27 weeks since the COVID-19 recession began in February, to 426,996 — or nearly a quarter of the entire Iowa labor force. Of that, 409,991 have filed over the last 20 weeks, in which these numbers first spiked. For more on this issue, see Colin Gordon’s recent 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