I’m not proud, I’m concerned
In her May 7 update Gov. Kim Reynolds spent considerable time defending meat packing plants, and her new testing program. Noting that one in 48 Iowans have been tested, Iowans were urged to be proud of the program and our recognition.
While it’s apparently true that about 66,000 tests have been administered, that number equates to 12 tests per county per day since the first covid case was diagnosed in Iowa. Even utilizing the testing rate of the last few days it will take three years to test Iowans. We fall far short of capacity to conduct randomized testing to understand the spread of the virus.
Additionally, testing results have not always been timely which negatively impacts contact tracing. Rather than build upon the lessons learned by other states, Gov. Reynolds risks the lives of Iowans by contracting testing with a start up company whose tests and equipment are not validated.
While Iowa’s 11,047 covid infections may seem small in comparison to other states like California, which reports 62,000 cases, California has more than 12 times Iowa’s population. It may chagrin Iowans to think left coasters are good at anything, but Iowa’s infection rate is double that of California, and that’s not a good thing if you live in the Hawkeye state.
Obviously the meat packing industry, and most others were unprepared for the virus. The black eye, however, belongs to our leaders who despite the advice of infectious disease experts, downplayed the danger, and did little to protect our medical personnel, first responders, essential workers, or those most at risk. Wasting precious months and playing catch up developing protocols, testing and sourcing PPE, has had devastating consequences.
So am I proud of our governors response to the pandemic. As the governor would say, our decisions should be governed by the data and metrics, and unfortunately they aren’t good.