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?