COVID-19 has claimed more than 4,000 Iowans’ lives, topping the state’s death toll from some major wars and from several of the harshest perennial health threats.
The coronavirus death toll in Iowa hit 4,060 on Wednesday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported. That is more than four times the 869 lost in the Vietnam War. And more than the 3,576 who died in World War I.
The coronavirus has claimed nearly half as many Iowans as died in World War II, 8,398.
The respiratory illness associated with a new coronavirus spread from China across the globe last year. What followed was months of disruptions of businesses, schools, governments, workplaces and the economy. Masks became commonplace, even as the very idea of being told to wear one became a political issue in one of the most divisive campaigns in U.S. history.
Vaccines are now available and slowly being distributed across the globe. But the health toll in Iowa continues to be clear.
So far, the pandemic has sickened 289,464 Iowans. The New York Times reported Iowa had seven COVID-19 deaths and 1,942 new cases on Tuesday. The number of new cases has fallen 17% over the past two weeks, but that could be in part to the limited testing. Deaths are down 41% in the same period.
The number of Iowa deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic started continues to rival some of the state’s perennial health threats.
For example, the respiratory illness has killed seven times more Iowans than typically die of flu or pneumonia in a year, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control data. And 10 times as many as die from high blood pressure. And nearly three times as many as die from stroke.
The coronavirus has claimed nearly two-thirds as many Iowans as cancer does in a year, CDC records show. And 57% of the yearly toll from heart disease.
The state health department on Wednesday reported 604 coronavirus patients were in Iowa hospitals, up from 582 on Tuesday. And 116 were in intensive care, one more than the day before.
The number admitted to hospitals in the past 24 hours stood at 125, a sharp increase from 69 on Tuesday.