How Iowa Mishandled the Coronavirus Pandemic

Elaine Godfrey for The Atlantic:

Iowa’s problem is not that residents don’t want to do the right thing, or that they have some kind of unique disregard for the health of their neighbors. Instead, they looked to elected leaders they trust to tell them how to navigate this crisis, and those leaders, including Trump and Reynolds, told them they didn’t need to do much at all. (Although some residents have certainly deliberately ignored the advice of public-health experts.)

We have mishandled the pandemic, but I have a quibble with the headline. It should be “How Iowa is Mishandling the Pandemic” because, first, we are very much in it and, second and most frustratingly, we have all the tools we need right now to prevent this death and suffering.

We are left with bad choices, but there are different magnitudes of bad. As one Iowa City healthcare provider put it:

The endgame of uncontrolled spread is a choice between massive death and suffering and overflowing hospitals, or shutting things down. This is the equivalent [of] choosing between death or amputation—when you could have had an earlier surgery, which would have been painful but would have prevented this scenario from developing in the first place.