Is Iowa Making a Big Mistake?

If you follow the coronavirus news at all, you’ve probably heard everyone and their brother chastising Iowa’s governor for not declaring a shelter in place. We are one of only five states that haven’t done it. Are we making a mistake?

What are we experiencing here?

As of yesterday, our numbers are relatively low: 786 positive cases, 14 deaths, and 9,454 negative results. Compared to other states, we’re not bad. We just went over 500 cases this week,

But, and this is a big but, are we just lagging behind and we’ll eventually catch up? Would a shelter in place order be more effective in keeping our numbers low? Why wouldn’t we want to avoid what other states are experiencing while we still can?

According to a recent article based on smartphone data, Iowans are not doing a good job of staying home. I tend to question this a little bit as some may just need to get out of the house and drive for a while!! Regardless, I’m sure we could do better. While they say traffic is down about 50%, that’s not really what I’ve seen the few times I’ve ventured out. And Tim confirms that.

So why hasn’t Governor Reynolds made this declaration? According to her, she’s already taken steps that support shelter in place – closed schools, closed many types of businesses, closed churches, promoted social distancing, no gatherings larger than ten people. If that’s the case, then why not declare it? She says it would have a serious effect on mental health. Hmmm. Not sure it would be all that different from what we’re already experiencing.

What would shelter in place change for Iowa?

Would shelter in place change people’s behavior? Everyone I know is staying home. My old company mandated people work from home. It wouldn’t mean anything different for us.

Also according to our governor, 80% of our workforce is essential. Does that include those who are working from home? It seems like it has to because I can’t believe this is true. Maybe I don’t understand the definition of “essential”. So, I decided to see what I could find.

According to this article, these are the essential workers right now. It’s a longer list than I expected. And since it includes financial services, that does cover a lot of people who are working from home.

I realize many of these groups of people cannot do their jobs at home. So maybe she’s right. What would it change for Iowa?

  • Health care and public health workers – this includes funeral home and cemetery workers
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders – My sister falls into this category. She works in the pre-trial release program.
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Energy employees – this includes telecommunications and cybersecurity staff
  • Water and wastewater
  • Transportation and logistics – this includes auto repair, trash collectors, postal and shipping, warehouse workers, maintenance and repair technicians
  • Public works
  • Communications and information technology
  • Other community-based government operations and essential functions
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Hazardous materials
  • Financial services
  • Chemical workers
  • Defense industrial base

Is anyone doing the right thing?

I know some states have partial shelter in place orders. It appears that means the mayors of some cities within those states have ordered people to “stay home”.

I know a couple of our hardest-hit cities have asked the governor to declare a statewide shelter in place because evidently in Iowa, they don’t have the authority to do so for their city.

I also read in a fellow blogger’s recent post that in Florida, churches have not been banned from holding services. And this is a shelter in place state? At least our churches have been forced to go to online services.

I know it’s somewhat difficult to imagine that simply staying six feet away from someone can make a difference. I’ve never experienced anything this contagious. I’m choosing, however, to trust the experts and I want to do my part to keep it from spreading. Especially now that I have my dad to consider.

I’d really like Tim to limit his trips to the grocery store. He’s not going for something to do, but he’s going probably three times a week and that’s too many. He just went Thursday and already we’ve thought of things we “need”. He was thinking about going yesterday but I said, we’ll be fine until at least Monday. We need to especially avoid the busier weekends. At least I assume the weekends are still busier.

We’re sanitizing everything he brings home and I’ve started throwing away all the cardboard packaging and the grocery bags. We had a box delivered the other day and I made him put it somewhere we couldn’t touch it for a while.

Should we wear masks when we go out? I donated all the masks I made and now I’m out of elastic. I know there are several versions so if I really wanted to, I could make us some. I definitely have the fabric!! I could pick out something colorful and appropriate for each of us. 😷

Tim suggested my dad and I periodically take our temperatures. He has his taken every time he goes to physical therapy, so he knows where he stands. I have a very old fashioned thermometer – you stick it in your mouth. He thought we needed a digital forehead one, so he found one on Amazon that could offer relatively quick delivery. It should arrive this week.

This thermometer discussion reminded me of the funny post my same blogger friend wrote about thermometers. You should read it.

After writing this and thinking some more, I’m really not sure what declaring a shelter in place would do that Iowa isn’t already doing. We Iowans like to think we do all the right things, but I know there are some people who never think these things apply to them. Even with a shelter in place order.

What do you think? Is Iowa making a big mistake?

24 thoughts on “Is Iowa Making a Big Mistake?”

  1. I had a response all ready to type out earlier… well I was trying to write one that was read worthy. I’ve been so frustrated by the media who didn’t research their articles about Iowa and the things the governor had put in place. Then today I finally see an article on the Des Moines tv station site where Dr. Fauci says Iowa IS doing what is needed even if it isn’t called “shelter in place”. I missed the governor’s press conference yesterday or I probably could have simmered down sooner! 😉 We feel good about what is in place here in Iowa and hope residents follow the plan.
    Stay safe…stay healthy!

    1. It’s easy for people outside of Iowa to assume we haven’t been doing the right things. I hope Dr Fauci’s endorsement puts all that to rest. Stay safe.

  2. I live in Florida and we finally received a ‘stay at home’ order from our Governor. Our largest cities have been on lock down for several weeks, (by order of local authority). I think that we would have all benefited from a shut down order early on, along with a restriction for flights from hot spot areas such as NY. We live in a community of 600 and currently have 2 confirmed cases. The couple who tested positive have been flying between NJ and Florida for business in recent weeks. They have also received visitors in their home from NJ. People move this disease and don’t always use common sense. I hate to say it, but sometimes government has to step in and tell people what to do. Sad commentary, but true.

    1. If people always did the right thing, we wouldn’t need bureaucracy. Even penalties don’t always make a difference. It is a sad commentary but I think you’re right. Stay safe.

  3. I have mixed emotions about stay in place. I think most of us are doing this. We need to take responsibility and those who don’t are now putting risk to our law enforcement. And let’s not forget our social workers who are still going out to clients. These clients are abusive or whatever on a “good day”, now can you imagine the instability in their lives and now social workers and law enforcement are not only putting their own lives at risk but also their families! I do know this first hand and I pray for my Daughter every second of the day! I just pray this to shall pass and all of us will be free!Reconnecting with our love ones by phoning, or reading or playing with them should always be at the utmost and i think this is a wake up call! God LOVES US!

    1. So true Pam. There are too many people that only think about themselves. If we all did the right thing, I would like to think we’d get through this sooner. My sister is also out there dealing with the crazy people. Stay safe.

  4. I applaud your governor. She is thinking about the mental welfare of her people. I wish I could say that about some of the political leaders we all know.

    1. I think we have a good governor who carefully considers all the angles. It’s a tough time to be a leader so I find it hard to criticize any of them. Stay safe.

  5. Hello! I also live in Iowa (Altoona) and am quite disturbed that our governor won’t take a stricter position!! I am 77 and my husband is 72 and although we are both pretty healthy we could be drastically affected if we get sick. I won’t even encourage him to go to the grocery store now. The one time he went during senior hour at Fareway it was sooo crowded he probably was in greater danger than if he had gone at the regular hour. Now he says the next few days are probably a greater window for safe shopping than it will be once we run out in 2 weeks. Is he right? Who knows, but my response is that we will use up whatever we have around even if it isn’t our normal healthy plant based diet with lots of salads and fresh fruits. We won’t go hungry!

    I ordered soymilk powder from Amazon that isn’t half bad and we will just have to forgo fresh yogurt or make some from the soy milk. The Washing ton Post has a great article suggesting egg substitutes.

    All this to say that such a drastic change from our normal eating habits might not be so necessary if there weren’t all those people traipsing around unnecessarily but it is what it is, and if They won’t stay home, we Will! Whatever it takes to get through the nearterm so we can thrive in the longterm!

    Jeannine In Iowa

    1. Thanks Jeannine. I wonder if shelter in place would even change what you’re seeing. People will still need groceries. But I agree that we should be going less often. You’re right; we won’t go hungry. Actually, it would do me good to cut back anyway!! Stay safe. And thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. Thanks for the links to my posts, Linda! I think Val hits it on the head quite nicely: it does ultimately go down to self-discipline and common sense. We’re (hopefully) never going to become China, who in some cases frighteningly locked people into their homes (the videos of that from the news continue to gnaw at me — what if there had been a fire?!).

    Early on it was reported that young people were ignoring the warnings because they were under a misconception they wouldn’t be harmed by this. Unfortunately the information now shows that younger people can become ill, and I think that’s helped to stem some of that cavalier behavior. In other words, over time we’ve all become more educated as this has played out.

    I too worry that we’re going to see spikes in places that as of now have been relatively spared. The more people stay home and away from others, the sooner we’ll get through this. That seems logical.

    1. Yes, everyone just stay home. Why is that so hard? In the span of a lifetime, it’s a drop in the bucket. Stay safe Marty.

  7. Our Govenor is being proactive 2 1/2 weeks ago he mandated shelter in place a few days after he closed schools and non essential businesses in addition to his daily news conference he has different PSA on tv every day while encouraging people to not gather in groups of more than 5 & practicing social distancing last week he finally closed state & city parks I feel comfortable with shelter in place & feel it us the right option 48 hours ago there were 9 states not sheltered in place now there are 5 I don’t understand why Iowa and the other 4 states are dragging their feet

    1. Seems we’re doing all the same things as those with shelter in place. So as one of my friends has stated, it’s just semantics. Stay safe Mike.

  8. Everyone should be taking precautions, but I’m hesitant to blame or point fingers, because really…who knows….

    1. This is unprecedented so everyone is operating by the seat of their pants. I know there will be lots of blame in hindsight. I just hope it doesn’t become more political. I’m sick of that childish behavior.

  9. Good thoughts questions Linda. And we can all relate to the indecision.

    In the end it boils down to self discipline and common sense doesn’t it? And hygiene!

    I don’t find that invincibility completely goes away when we become adults. Bummer.

    Common sense (should) tells us we need to act with EXTREME caution. I wore a makeshift mask to the store. Don’t care what others think of that.

    I am truly challenging myself on groceries. – – needs versus wants/preferences. For example, I thought I’ll make banana bread since we overbought but quickly found we didn’t have the buttermilk the recipe called for. I googled it and made homemade buttermilk. It was delicious. The rest of the aged bananas are smashed & frozen because we cannot have baked goodies around very often when spending lots of time at home eating it!!!! 🙃

    This whole thing is a huge test of patience and inconvenience to people (including myself in this mix) who are used to just the opposite -complete freedoms and walls of every flavor of every food and beverage we can think of.

    Each of us has opportunity to get creative, smile through it and try new. things during this trying time. It’s been forever since I looked forward to raking leaves(today) just so I could be outside!

    Some days I fret the restrictions that remain self imposed thus far. Some days I enjoy the challenge.
    And when I go do go out I self talk before I leave the house to level set myself, knowing I’ll likely observe at least one grouchy person who is quite vocal about this life or death thing that nobody can control.

    1. I do think something good could come out of this in terms of connections. We had a Zoom happy hour last night with my cousin in Washington and my sister. Why weren’t we doing that all along? We may see some new traditions. Thanks Val. Stay safe.

    2. Good morning. Ken and his 3 siblings who are spread across 4 states also did a zoom call recently. It was a really good thing! And it was easy….and those who are more technically savvy (my husband and brother in law) helped those who weren’t, to get everyone on the call. First time nervous but everyone is now ready for the next virtual family reunion!

  10. I live in California and we have a very proactive governor who declared shelter in place early on… and it’s paying off. So far, our state has experienced many fewer than expected infections and deaths. We still see idiots out there who ignore the directives, but I guess there will always be those types. It’s just too bad that their stupid behavior could negatively impact others. I just wish we had a leader in Washington who would establish a cohesive federal response. So much time has been lost when we could have better prepared ourselves.

    1. I just hope we’re all doing the right things now. I’ll feel better when places start flattening the curve. Glad California is doing well.

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