March 1, 2021
An eye on the data: Key numbers during the COVID-19 crisis in Iowa
COVID-19 deaths and total positive cases in Iowa are still rising at a pace slower than the peak in November in the pandemic that reached the state nearly a year ago.
As of Monday, deaths stood at 5,472 and positive tests at 363,864. It remains to be seen if a second strain of the virus that is reported to have reached the state will spread as rapidly as the first round that peaked in November. Governor Kim Reynolds has removed nearly all of the limited mask and social distancing requirements that she had implemented in those early months.
Over the many months of the pandemic, delays in death and positive case reports — as well as recent changes in the number used to report individual positive tests — have hindered a consistently clear look at the pace of COVID-19 in Iowa. However, data offered on the state's website do provide evidence of a spread that is continuing but may have peaked, if variants of the virus do not change the course.
Trouble continues, meanwhile, for Iowa workers and the Iowa economy. In the unemployment claims report issued last Thursday (Feb. 25) for the week ending Feb. 20, Iowa Workforce Development reported initial claims of 5,457 — bringing the 56-week total during the current recession to nearly 597,000. (See the summary below.).
The COVID-19 health data below are from IDPH, most reflecting data released by Monday at 6 p.m. The counts for positive cases typically change around the clock as new information is gathered, with updates to previously reported data. Death count updates now are usually provided once a day, in the morning. The IDPH dashboard is found here.
The dark line in the next graph shows fluctuations in the daily number of new cases, while the shaded area shows the one-week rolling average throughout the pandemic in Iowa. These figures from Feb. 11 will be updated.
The daily average in positive tests has risen steadily in Iowa to a persistently high level well above those for the early months of the pandemic, with the peak coming during November average.
As with positive cases, the death counts peaked in Iowa in November. The totals by month, which are frequently revised especially for the two most recent months, are in the following chart.
Ninety-four counties have reached double digits in deaths to COVID-19. Eight counties have had at least 100 deaths: Dubuque, Linn, Black Hawk, Scott, Woodbury, Pottawattamie, Wapello and Polk. Besides Polk, at 549, Linn County has reached 300, Black Hawk is getting close, and Woodbury also is above 200.
New unemployment claims show jobless Iowans need greater protection
The state of Iowa saw another difficult week in initial unemployment claims for the week ending Feb. 20. Iowa recorded 5,457 new claims, up from a revised 5,988 in new unemployment claims for the previous week.
Analysis throughout the pandemic has shown that through most of this recession, the initial claims number has been well above the level at similar points during the Great Recession. Recent weeks have been an exception to that trend. In the last 49 weeks, claims have been 579,765 — or 97 percent — of the total of 596,770 over the 56 weeks of this recession. The magnitude of this recession can be understood by the observation that the average increase in initial claims has been 10,657 is twice the average for the same period of the Great Recession (note the orange bars in the graph below, only five rising above 10,000).