Persistence of the coronavirus pandemic and public reaction to it is appalling. As former chair of the Johnson County Board of Health I know we can do better.
It is the first crisis of this scale we faced in my lifetime. It’s personal. Too many people I know contracted COVID-19 or died from it. As the virus runs out of control, it’s easy to predict more illness and deaths.
Statistical reports show cases of COVID-19 in Iowa increasing dramatically. The number of hospital and ICU patients with COVID-19 is rising. Epidemiologists at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics say that while there are beds, there is not sufficient staff to support the surge response.
A mistake our leaders made was to politicize our response to the virus.
President Trump all but abandoned working on the pandemic after the election. “The president is holed up in the White House, his public schedule empty, tweeting about how he has won an election that everyone knows he lost,” wrote historian Heather Cox Richardson on Friday. To the extent the president cared about the coronavirus it was a political calculation — a failed attempt to get reelected.
Governor Kim Reynolds has been as bad as the president. Her comments Nov. 10 regarding a targeted mask mandate would be comical if they didn’t endanger Iowans. In the meanwhile Reynolds touted that the state’s rainy day fund remains intact. That’s cold comfort to people having symptoms of COVID-19 who can’t get tested.
We have been left to our own devices. If you don’t wear a mask in public and are planning a large family gathering for the upcoming holidays, you are part of the problem.
Stay home if you can, wear a mask in public. Postpone large holiday gatherings until the virus is under control.
The coronavirus is home for the holidays.
~ This letter appeared in the Nov. 19, 2020 edition of the Solon Economist