COVID STORM BY IOWA STORM – A year ago, the nation turned to Iowa to watch presidential candidates eat fried food on a stick at the state fair. Now the local news is even darker.
Iowa is one of seven states, mostly in the Midwest, that Anthony Fauci says must be on high alert this Labor Day weekend. Fauci warned of rising positivity rates in the region, recounting Bloomberg that the region’s Covid figures are “predictive that there is going to be a problem.”
The White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended that state officials close bars in 61 of Iowa’s 99 counties; test all students returning to campus; and issue a statewide mask warrant, warning that the state has the highest infection rates in the country.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has so far rejected these suggestions.
In only two weeks, Iowa added more than 10,000 cases to its total number of cases and reported more than 850 new cases today.
The Mayor of Des Moines, Frank Cownie mandatory masks in his town last week. I chatted every night with Cownie, a Democrat, about running a town in the country’s new hotspot. This conversation has been edited.
Governor Reynolds has closed bars in six counties. Do you think it should close more?
Absoutely. And she should hopefully follow our lead and issue a statewide mask warrant.
We have people coming to Des Moines from all over the state, and if they are from an area that has not received this emergency notification, they say, What is going on here? Why are you wearing a mask?
I hear from friends in other states – they don’t particularly want to see a bunch of people from Iowa right now, enter their area without quarantining for a while to make sure they don’t. do not have.
How do you apply your city’s mask mandate?
What we are trying to do is not be punitive. I mean, it could be a civil offense and fined. But we start by saying: Hey you are in violation, there is a mask warrant, here is a mask. We distribute masks. Carry.
Reynolds did not rule out raising the age of alcohol consumption for young people as a way to curb the spread. How do you feel about this?
I’m not sure what she’s talking about. Is she talking about increasing it to 30 or what?
What a lot of people see in some of these areas where people gather for entertainment after work, we see a lot of people – I would say mid-twenties, maybe 30, seem to be the ones doing it. At least until about a weekend ago, many of them wore no masks at all and entered these fairly confined places.
Are you concerned about the return of K-12 students to the classroom?
Our school district would prefer, until we got this under control and curb this push, not even to meet in person. Des Moines Public Schools is the subject of a lawsuit with the Iowa Department of Education over this because the governor’s mandate is that they must be in class at least 50 percent of the time, in person. And if they are not, there is a threat that their funds will be cut, and they will not recognize the merit of any of the courses they take.
What would you say to those who think Covid is going to go away?
There are three quick things, in nine words: wear a mask. Wear a mask. Wear a mask.
I hate to say it, but it’s an IQ test, go for it.
Welcome to POLITICO Nightly: Coronavirus special edition. To reach [email protected] or on Twitter at @renurayasam.
WITHOUT LEAVING A TRACE – Large numbers of Covid-19 patients refuse to tell public health officials who they have been in contact with, thwarting state efforts to slow the spread of the disease during a fragile turnaround in the pandemic. Contact tracing data provided to POLITICO shows that more than three-quarters of respondents in states with high infection rates, such as California and Louisiana, refused to cooperate in efforts to identify relatives or acquaintances who could have been exposed to the disease.
The tracing programs, coupled with extensive testing, have been credited with controlling the spread of Covid-19 in some countries, including South Korea and New Zealand, write health journalists Alice Miranda Ollstein and Darius Tahir. But state officials and public health experts say U.S. efforts have been undermined by the Trump administration’s failure to advocate for tracing. Conspiracy theories linking the interviews to government plots to install surveillance cameras and weapon confiscations have not helped.
This lingering mistrust could hamper vaccination programs once a Covid-19 vaccine is found. “We have had people who are concerned that we are the FBI or other government agencies,” said Kirstin Short, chief of the epidemiology office at the Houston Department of Health.
POLITICO has requested detailed tracing data from each state. A total of 14 states and New York City provided results, showing widespread public reluctance to participate in disease tracking. Only a few, including Massachusetts and Vermont, have persuaded the majority of their Covid-positive residents to disclose who they may have been infected.
BEAT THE RESURGENCE – Earlier this summer, Covid cases were on the decline and states began to reopen. Weeks later, there was a resurgence. In the last POLITICO dispatch, health reporters Dan Goldberg and Dan Diamond discuss how the Trump administration plans a repeat of this situation – just two months before the election.
EXVICTION WARNING SIGNS – The Trump administration’s new nationwide ban on tenant evictions and congressional inaction on rent assistance endanger “the stability of the entire rental housing industry,” warned today hui a coalition of a dozen housing industry groups. Faced with a potential wave of evictions during the worst economic shock since the Great Depression, the White House on Tuesday instituted a new moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until the end of the year.
But the policy does not include any funding for rent assistance – leaving landlords embarrassed while simply delaying evictions of tenants who cannot find the funds to repay rent when the moratorium expires, writes the reporter from Katy O’Donnell Financial Services. “Without rental assistance, the real estate industry is burdened with an irrecoverable financial burden that could lead to the biggest rental housing crisis of our lives,” the group of organizations representing for-profit and non-profit rental housing providers lucrative. written to leaders of Congress today.
Powerful industry representatives – including the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Homebuilders and the Mortgage Bankers Association – signed the letter, which was copied to administration officials. The ban “will end up harming the very people it aims to help,” they wrote. “It will be impossible for housing providers, especially small landlords, to meet their financial obligations and continue to house their residents. Additionally, it places an unmanageable debt burden on tenants due to months of unpaid rent, potentially dating back to March. “
Nightly asks you: Send us photos of your Covid-19 workspace or study. Send your photo to [email protected]. We will include selected photos in our Friday edition.
ZOOM ROOM – Eugene Daniels, Tim Alberta, Ryan Lizza and Laura Barrón-López discuss the ‘death march towards November’, how the protests and Covid will affect the presidential race and the politics surrounding Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooting suspect Kyle Rittenhouse.
TO START UP – Every evening Tyler weyant writing :
The premier league of college football returns tonight with a list of mildly entertaining games. The season will be fractured and hectic, with conferences canceling seasons, fans excluded from games and huge safety concerns. Here’s Nightly’s fall screening report.
Offense: Despite what you have heard, there are many conferences that move football forward and have gotten creative in setting a schedule. Proudly independent, Notre-Dame has aligned with the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Defense: Conferences that have postponed their seasons, including the Big Ten, Pac 12 and Mountain West, will have a potential return to the field. The pressure goes increased election season fans, academics and politicians. Be prepared for inconsistent use of masks: A Championship Subdivision Football game played in Alabama last week featured little on the sidelines.
Framing: Don’t listen to coaches, or politicians for that matter, no matter how loud they are. Decisions about the season will be made by university presidents and medical officials.
Special teams: The home advantage will be slim this year. Many schools severely limit the number of fans during games. Already, some schools have retreated to events without fans.
Intangible: Postponements of matches or cancellations of additional seasons could occur at any time. Penn State Sports Medicine Director abandoned terrifying statistics on heart inflammation in athletes infected this week (only to have to bring them back shortly after). Enjoy the pageantry while you can, as the circus can pack up and leave town at any time.
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