Iowa Politics with Jeff Stein — Thu. May 21, 2020

Iowa Politics with Jeff Stein — Thu. May 21, 2020

Curve Spike

Yesterday, the state reported the fewest single day increase in COVID-19 cases in some time…still a significant increase in deaths, but that is to be expected given the course of any disease. Once contracted, the most severe cases that result in death will take some time, so the two numbers need to be taken together to bring full context to the situation.

More of the state will reopen tomorrow, leading into a long holiday weekend. And anyone who doesn’t expect a spike in the number of cases after that isn’t paying attention…or is laying in wait to play a political game.

The idea of shutting everything down was to flatten the curve, not eliminate it. It was designed to not overwhelm health care infrastructure. And those meat processing plants with huge outbreaks notwithstanding, it worked to meet that goal.

So let’s presume at this time next week, there’s a moderate spike in the number of new cases. That’s probably not due to anything that happens this weekend anyway, but play along. That spike in no way suggests reopening was a failure, or that we should go backwards. It’s to be expected and the key is to again minimize the number through smart behavior.

But spikes elsewhere have led to political grandstanding and charges of putting profits before people. So it’s all going to happen, as is a hopefully moderate second spike come the fall. Play the long game, smartly, and we’ll be fine.