CEDAR RAPIDS — Public officials rattle off COVID-19 statistics at daily news conferences: the number of new cases; numbers of negative tests; the number of deaths. As of Friday, April 3, 2020, a total of 11 Iowans had died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Senior photo of Vicki Snarzyk, courtesy Judy Fletcher
Vicki Snarzyk was one of those. “She was a beautiful soul who always put others first,” Judy Fletcher said of her 61-year-old sister, who died April 1 in Cedar Rapids. Fletcher, 54, of Denver, Colorado, wants everyone to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously, to understand the devastating implications and realize how easily it can hit home.
Updated April 6 to reflect new data. Some Iowa hospitals ramping up their efforts to treat COVID-19 victims will not survive the pandemic without an infusion of cash, the head of the professional association for those hospitals said. Moreover, an rural-urban split that puts rural hospitals at a disadvantage when attracting resources to treat patients will widen, Iowa Hospital Association President Kirk Norris said in an IowaWatch interview. “We need a transition model for rural health care or – even assuming we get back on our feet, and they say this is the next six or nine months – there will be hospitals that will not recover from this and will close in Iowa,” Norris said. “These community hospitals need cash now.
Editor’s note: This story was produced with support from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s National Fellowship and by the Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism. Luis bent over his front porch, one knee on a piece of plywood as he muscled an old hand saw through a cut in the wood on a warm day in early February. He was repairing a section of flooring in the small white house he shares with three other men on a quiet street in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.The cuts became more challenging as the saw caught in the wood. Luis, whose name has been changed for anonymity, shook his head and said he once owned newer power tools that would make the job much easier.
We have all become acutely aware in the past few weeks why masks and face shields, respirators and ventilators are so important for hospital workers and their patients. The supply is not keeping up with the need, and that could have dire consequences for the doctors, nurses and patients. Likewise, the coronavirus crisis has underscored the importance of another valuable commodity – access to accurate, authoritative information. As with ventilators and protective gear for hospital workers, the flow of facts is not occurring as smoothly as it should during this public health emergency. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.
A high-voltage underground transmission line proposed to cross Iowa and Illinois is moving ahead without the landowner opposition that has dogged overhead transmission lines in the region. The SOO Green HVDC Link, which would span 349 miles from Mason City, Iowa, to a connection with the PJM grid at Yorkville, Illinois, has encountered no major objections at the four public meetings that have been held in Iowa and Illinois, according to project spokeswoman Sarah Lukan. She said the developer knows of no organized opposition to the project. The project is a fundamentally different approach to moving electricity over long distances, never before tried in this country. The German manufacturing conglomerate Siemens developed the technology and is using it to move wind power from the North Sea to southern Germany.
Vaccine kits. “Silver Solution” treatment. Even coronavirus-fighting toothpaste. The swindles have begun. As Americans struggle to cope with the spread of COVID-19, they will also need to brace themselves for “disaster fraud”—those cons that rely on post-catastrophe chaos to separate people from their money.
An environmental advocacy group is out today with its annual report on pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Raisin lovers, take note. Nearly all conventionally-grown raisins are contaminated by traces of two or more pesticides, according to test data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited in Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, the report by the Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, D.C. The average sample contained more than 13 pesticides, and one sample tested positive for 26. Even most organic raisins sampled by the USDA tested positive for at least one pesticide. The environmental group recommends that consumers buy organic raisins when possible, or avoid raisins in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables with lower levels of pesticide contamination. According to the analysis, the 12 items with the most pesticide contamination were, from worst to best: strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.
Leadership is an elusive quality. When we think of leaders, we often list people in leadership roles. They are the boss; they make the decisions. But in reality, having a leadership role does not necessarily make those people true leaders. Someone once explained the distinction this way: “Actions, not words, are the ultimate results of leadership.”
On the eve of D-Day in 1944, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower delivered an inspiring message to the soldiers, sailors and aviators poised to embark the next morning on the largest invasion the world has ever seen.
ByJackson Schulte/IowaWatch and The Scarlet & Black |
GRINNELL, Iowa – Some Grinnell College seniors have chosen to finish their undergraduate days by staying in town, even though the college sent most of their peers home for the rest of the school year and canceled the spring graduation ceremony because of COVID-19. They’re staying in town for a variety of reasons but mainly to continue living in homes for which they’re contractually obligated to pay rent and to make their final months as seniors feel meaningful. “My
rent here is paid, it’s sort of a sunk cost,” Pete Zelles, 22, a senior from
St. Paul, Minnesota, said. “I realized that the majority of my friends are
staying because they’re in the same position.
Grinnell College acted ahead of other colleges and universities in the state when moving students off campus and canceling spring graduation. Now, students are figuring out how to handle that when they return to classes – virtually – from spring break.