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It is time for reason, logic and a measured evaluation of the facts regarding the Coronavirus. We need to stop listening to the voices of panic and hysteria and remember that we are Americans and Iowans. We are well on our way to making the reaction to this health concern far worse than the consequences of the virus itself. It is time to put this situation into perspective.

We do not yet know what the infection rate will be for the Coronavirus, but most estimates are a little less or a little more than the mortality rate for the standard flu we face every year. Let’s all remember, there is another virus that has thus far infected 15 million Americans across the country and killed more than 8,200 people this flu season alone. It’s not a new pandemic; it’s influenza. Perspective matters.

As we are considering our response as individuals, parents and as responsible citizens, let us keep these facts in mind:

  • Most people (80%) will never know they have COVID-19. Symptoms will be like a cold or flu. The biggest concern is for the elderly with underlying health concerns.
  • IDPH is working closely with the Governor’s office and has provided information to schools, health providers, EMT personnel, law enforcement, local health partners and more.
  • If Iowans become ill, they should call their doctor’s office and inform them of their recent travel before visiting the doctor’s office.
  • Children can be carriers, but the symptoms in children have been very mild.
  • Travel on mass transit (cruise ships, commercial airlines) should be postponed if possible.
  • The virus is believed to be spread between people in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
  • The virus is spread via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
  • Iowans should prepare for COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt the normal routine.
  • Prevention of COVID-19 is like that for other respiratory illnesses like the flu.
  • Helpline – Call 211. Available 24/7.
  • IDPH Website with COVID-19 Updates – https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Iss…/Novel-Coronavirus

Here is the most important thing to bear in mind: We have no instances of community spread in Iowa at this time. All but one case of COVID-19 in Iowa can be traced to a cruise in Egypt. In the other case, the person had just returned from California. No cases yet reported were from person to person spread in our communities. Should that occur, additional precautions can and will be taken. At this point, there is NO DATA in Iowa to support closing schools for extended periods of time or canceling local events.

At a dark time in our history, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt said that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. This certainly applies to the current situation. COVID-19 is serious, however, overreaction and unnecessary closings and disruptions in our lives and communities can only lead to consequences that do not have to happen. Closing schools or other institutions without reason will only further complicate the situation for those who are critical in the containment and treatment of COVID-19, such as doctors and nurses with small children, who could be forced to stay home for lack of childcare. Let logic and reason prevail in Iowa, as we take reasonable precautions, and move forward. Let’s follow the data and take action accordingly.

Author: Steven Holt