Guest Columnist

I probably have COVID-19, but can't get tested. Iowa's shelter-at-home will come too late

A new screening shed has replaced temporary tents outside the emergency room entrance at UnityPoint St. Luke's Hospital
A new screening shed has replaced temporary tents outside the emergency room entrance at UnityPoint St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The shed will be used to screen patients with mild to moderate respiratory symptoms. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Right now, my doctor believes I have COVID-19. He strongly believes I am infected. I asked if I could get tested, and he said unfortunately I cannot because I am not a first responder or health care professional, nor over the age of 60, nor do I live in a nursing home.

So, my question is, since I can’t get tested, how is my assumed positive result being counted in the state’s numbers? If I can’t get tested, how can Gov. Kim Reynolds’ numbers be accurate?

Not only is her data inaccurate (my example proves it), the logic is flawed.

The ideology behind a “shelter at home,” or something similar, is to prevent spread. Prevent means to be proactive.

Every piece of Reynolds’ data is reactive. It is data that already happened. At it’s most macro level, the data says “when it gets real bad, we will shelter in place.” Unfortunately, that will be too late.

It is no surprise that if you do the math, (per Reynold’s decision matrix) the score of 10 required to have a shelter-at-home order is not likely to happen except during the peak of infections.

So, what does that mean? That means their predictive models are good, the scoring models are good for the point in time (except for inaccurate numbers for how many are infected), but it does nothing to prevent future infections.

It does not make any sense to require sheltering in place AFTER we peak.

Shelter in place should prevent infections. It should not act as gauge of our current infections. All that will happen now is we will peak, the governor will put a shelter-in-place order, our numbers will drop, and she will take credit. The numbers will be dropping because of the shelter-inpplace, but more importantly, they will be dropping because we already peaked.

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The next issue is, what actually is a shelter-in-place? Gov. Reynolds currently says we are already doing “all the things.” Ok, then what is different? If we are already doing all the things, then what will sheltering in place do for us?

David Zirkelbach lives in Cedar Rapids.

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