Iowa’s COVID-19 death rate outpaced that of 47 other states this past week

    An image of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.(Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Lab)

    Iowa recorded 51 additional coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, along with 1,653 new infections, the New York Times reported.

    Over the past week, 221 deaths were reported in Iowa, according to the Washington Post’s COVID-19 database. That translates to a 68.4% increase in the number of newly reported deaths over the past seven days. Among the 50 states, Iowa had the nation’s third-biggest increase in deaths this past week, behind Alaska and North Dakota.

    Over the past week, Iowa has averaged 1,126 new infections per day, which represents a decrease of 31% from the average two weeks earlier.

    As of Friday morning, there have been at least 310,440 cases and 4,445 deaths in Iowa since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Times.

    While the number of new infections shows signs of inching back up after a long downward trend, Thursday’s numbers still represent a significant reduction from mid-November when the state was averaging nearly 5,500 new cases per day.

    The number of newly reported infections can be affected by the number of tests given. In Iowa, the number of tests has fallen from 8,715 on Nov. 15 to 3,888 on Thursday, the Times reported.

    The Washington Post on Friday reported Iowa continues to have one of the lowest rates of testing in the country. On a per capita basis, Iowa ranked last among the states over the past seven days, administering 558 tests for every 100,000 residents. When the states are ranked by the raw number of tests given, Iowa ranks third from the bottom, behind South Dakota and Idaho.

    Since Dec. 14, more than 177,000 doses of a covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Iowa. More than 26,000 Iowans have completed their vaccination, a number that is equal to 0.84% of the state’s total population. Currently, there are 14 other states with a lower rate of vaccination than Iowa.

    According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there are 70 active outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes, with 1,884 infections of staff and residents associated with those outbreaks.

    Clark Kauffman
    Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.