Opinion | Governor Reynold’s COVID-19 response has been disastrous

Iowa is facing a pandemic and a lack of leadership which has been disastrous for us all.


Raquele Decker

Photo Illustration by Raquele Decker.

Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

Iowa is seeing another surge in COVID-19 cases and a lack of leadership from our Governor has only exacerbated the problem. 

Earlier in the month, according to an article by Iowa City Press-Citizen, Governor Reynolds was turning to citizens to do their part in preventing the spread of the virus claiming government intervention won’t do the job on its own.  

This is interesting considering Reynolds did take action in the spring to close down businesses and since has allowed them to open with some precautions, however, up until this week had still not put out a mask mandate for the state or taken any other recent action.  

According to an article done by KCRG, Iowa now tops the charts for most flu-like illnesses in the nation by a large margin. The average for Iowa is 5.7% compared to the national average of  1%. This is mostly due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. 

As reported by the Daily Iowan,  in lieu of the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa, on November 16th Governor Reynolds addressed Iowans with new measures to curb the outbreak of the virus. These new measures include but are not limited to, a mask mandate, bars and restaurants closing at 10pm, social gatherings must be no more than 15 people indoors and 30 outdoors, and inpatient elective procedures are being decreased by 50%.  

According to Reynolds, these measures will be reviewed in a week to see if any further action needs to be taken. 

Reynolds has consistently stressed that government measures will not be enough to save us from the virus — however, a lack of leadership has certainly contributed to where we are today.   

Earlier in October, Governor Reynolds attended Trump’s rally among many other Iowans while simultaneously asking citizens to take precautions and implementing social distance requirements.

 KCRG reported in October, during a rise in COVID-19 cases, Reynolds seemingly was not concerned about the risks involved in holding the rally even though public health experts had said they were extremely concerned about the probable increase in cases that would come in the following weeks to month.  

Clearly we have seen a surge in cases since last month. According to an article done by KCRG, Iowa has seen more deaths last week than we have seen in any other week with 143 COVID-19 related deaths. 

Additionally, according to the New York Times, there has been a 107% increase in the last fourteen days of COVID-19 cases in Iowa and a 47% increase in the number of deaths. These numbers are incredibly alarming.  

The precautions that have been put in place are long overdue and likely insufficient. Iowa should not have to hit top charts for there to be real government intervention. Although these policies are not a fix, they will help limit the amount of high risk interactions that are currently taking place, which is what we have needed to do for a while. 

If Governor Reynolds wants Iowans to act like we are living in a global pandemic she must do the same. Misinformation and a lack of urgency in regards to COVID-19 have been incredibly dangerous. 

The rhetoric we use regarding the pandemic is extremely important in getting people to respond accordingly. People are dying and people will continue to die if we do not recognize and take action to minimize the disaster we are facing.   

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.