The news from the White House Coronavirus Task Force continues to be bad for Iowa.
The latest report, dated last Sunday, says the state's infection rate the previous week was twice as high as the national average, and 7th highest in the country. Scott County wasn't yet among the counties in the state with the highest level of transmission, but as we neared the end of last week, the news got seriously worse for us here.
On Thursday and Friday, the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed. Meanwhile, officials from Genesis Health System said it was seeing its highest hospitalization rates since the beginning of the pandemic.
Doug Cropper, the chief executive at Genesis, said current trends may make it necessary for local hospitals to suspend other services to treat the COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
This is not good, obviously.
Recall, when the pandemic started the economy was shut down to slow the spread in order to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. As we head into the colder weeks and months, all the trends seem to be moving in the wrong direction and experts are worried.
Today, in this section, the medical directors of the health departments in Scott and Rock Island counties jointly present a convincing case why masks can help slow the spread of COVID-19. (Illinois already mandates the use of masks, though Iowa does not.)
We would urge you to read this essay and take the evidence to heart. Realize that this is not coming from some Facebook post or an email circulated by a relative. These are local physicians who we rely on to advise us on public health policies.
There is no better time to heed their words.
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