CORONAVIRUS

Des Moines bans large public events because of virus

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie speaks at a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. (File photo
Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie speaks at a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. (File photo by Kevin Sanders/AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines officials have banned gatherings of more than 250 people on public property and canceled the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie announced those moves Sunday when he declared a state of emergency in the city.

Iowa now has 18 cases of COVID-19 in the state, including one case in Dallas County that isn’t related to travel. That case in the Des Moines suburbs indicates the virus is becoming more common in Iowa because officials can’t trace the origin of it.

Cownie’s proclamation forced the cancellation of Tuesday’s parade. Separately, Annie’s Irish Pub decided to cancel a block party it had planned for Tuesday.

Cownie also urged Des Moines residents to avoid large gatherings on private property although he didn’t specifically ban those events on private property.

For most people, the COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness. Most people recover from the new virus.

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