116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa made great strides for more than half a year at driving down the rate of COVID-19 infection. That progress is in jeopardy as coronavirus figures have started to tick back up in the past few weeks.
Luckily, there is already a solution available to us: We know the vaccines are effective at reducing transmission and especially effective at reducing severe illness from COVID-19.
We also know, however, that children under 12 are not cleared to receive the vaccines. It’s also possible that the vaccines’ efficacy wanes over time or that they might not be less effective against new variants. Those facts underscore the need for people who are eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
There is never a good time for a surge in virus activity but this one coincides with Iowa’s busy summer travel and events season. People taking trips without or outside the state risk spreading the virus or bringing it home with them. Thousands of people are gathering at the RAGBRAI and county fairs across the state, and the State Fair is scheduled to start next month. It could be a recipe for disaster.
The increase in cases also comes after Iowa lowered basically all of the state’s defenses against coronavirus.
The limited mask requirement imposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last year was rescinded in February. What’s more, due to a law signed by the governor this spring, schools this coming academic year will be prohibited from requiring students to wear masks.
The Test Iowa program that conducted more than half a million coronavirus tests at drive-in locations ended this month in favor of a system of take-home tests. Also, the state recently stopped providing daily case numbers and now is only disclosing that data to the public once per week.
Insufficient as those safeguards may have been, they at least gave us timely information about the virus’s spread. Now we’re flying blind as the disease shows signs of a deadly resurgence.
No one is eager to return to last year’s norm of wearing masks, staying home and socially distancing, least of all the governor. To avoid a situation like that, it’s imperative that vaccine holdouts take the shot.
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