The Gazette Daily News Podcast, April 8

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We got a warm spring day finally Tuesday, followed up by a bit of Spring volatility. That volatility will continue into Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, there is a high probability of rain and thunderstorms in the Cedar Rapids area, especially after 4:00 p.m. There will be a high of 68 degrees and a healthy breeze that could gust as high as 30 mph during the day.

On Tuesday Iowa saw its largest one-day increase of infected Iowans in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, bringing the statewide total to more than 1,000 positive cases and pushing part of Eastern Iowa closer to Gov. Kim Reynold’s threshold of a stay-at-home order. An additional 102 positive cases have been identified by public health officials, putting the statewide count at 1,048 positive cases since the strain of the coronavirus was first identified in the state, on March 8. An additional death was announced in Benton County, bringing the state’s total to 26.

In some slightly more positive news, influential disease modelers out of the University of Washington that have been relied on by the White House among others have revised expected death totals nationally from COVID-19 from potentially almost 100,000 by August 4 down to 81,766. Iowa’s projected death total was reduced by about half, down to 420, with the state’s expected first peak for infections to be around April 17. These numbers are moving targets and could change as more positive or negative developments arise and more data is revealed. 

Meanwhile, the search for a vaccine for the virus continues. University of Iowa Healthcare announced Tuesday that it is partnering with the University of Georgia on a vaccine that has shown promise in clinical trials with mice. This follows an announcement on Monday that the university is working on a drug that could alleviate COVID-19 symptoms and help hospitalized patients recover faster.

There were a pair of water rescues in Linn County. In one, a 30-year-old man nearly drowned in Cedar Lake before emergency responders pulled him to safety and revived him. He was recovering Tuesday night in a Cedar Rapids hospital. Meanwhile two people and their dog were pulled from the Cedar River Tuesday after a boat capsized near the roller dam at Palisades-Kepler State Park. The trio was pulled to safety by witnesses in a nearby boat. They were uninjured.

The Luka Garza award watch ended with another disappointment for Iowa Hawkeye fans. The Iowa star center was topped for the prestigious  John R. Wooden Award player of the year award. He was bested again by his main rival in the award season, sophomore Obi Toppin of Dayton, who nearly swept the player of the year awards. For his part, Garza congratulated Toppin and consoled Iowa fans, saying he was glad to have received the honors he did.

This weekend briefing is sponsored in part by Corridor Careers, now offering a virtual job fair coming up tomorrow, April 9, from 3 to 6 pm. For more job information, and to get yourself registered for the event, visit CorridorCareers.com/events.