Iowa’s daily COVID-19 average surpasses January peak

By: - September 20, 2021 4:46 pm

COVID-19 cell graphic. (Image via National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)

Iowa’s COVID-19 cases continued to rise Monday, with daily average cases surpassing the most recent peak in January 2021, before vaccines were widely available. 

Iowa’s daily average of COVID-19 cases was 1,867 on Sunday, according to New York Times data. That number represents the average number of new cases every day over the last week.

At the height of a surge of cases in January, there was an average of 1,754 cases per day. The last time the daily average surpassed 1,800 was in December, as Iowa came down from a deadly surge in November. The worst stage of that autumn outbreak saw an average of 4,700 new cases each day.

Cases in Iowa have been growing quickly, according to data from the Times and the Washington Post. Over the last two weeks, the average number of daily cases has risen by nearly 50%. 

Iowa has one of the fastest-growing daily averages in the nation, according to the Post: daily cases have increased by 36% in the last week, the sixth-highest rate among other states and territories.

Hospitalizations not spiking at the same rate

Despite increasing cases, hospitalizations have leveled out in recent weeks. The Times reports that hospitalizations have risen just 4% over the last two weeks, and the Post shows that there has been no change in hospitalizations over the last week.

There are 579 COVID-19 patients currently in Iowa hospitals, according to state data. Of COVID-19 patients in the hospital, 78% are unvaccinated. In the intensive care unit, 90% of COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. 

Majority of Iowans against federal vaccine mandates

A September Des Moines Register poll found that federal initiatives to require vaccinations are unpopular among a majority of Iowans.

The Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll asked over 800 Iowans how they felt about President Joe Biden’s order to require vaccination or weekly testing at companies with more than 100 employees. Over half, 52%, of Iowans said they opposed the requirement, and 45% said they favored it.

The poll of 805 Iowa adults, conducted Sept. 12-15, found a stark political divide on the question. Over 90% of Iowa Democrats supported a vaccine requirement at large companies, whereas just 1 in 5 Republicans approved of the measure.

The unvaccinated were also far more likely to oppose a mandate than the vaccinated. Among those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, 95% opposed the idea of a mandate.

Iowa’s vaccination rate continues to creep up. The Post reported Monday that 53.4% of Iowa’s population is fully vaccinated. That’s up 0.8% since last Monday.

Among Iowans over 12 who are currently eligible for the vaccine, 63% are fully vaccinated, according to the Times data.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.