Within 10 days, the majority of businesses and facilities Governor Kim Reynolds ordered to close in March will have been allowed to reopen, under new pandemic-related guidelines. Reynolds on Thursday said critics of her decisions fail to acknowledge the distress that closures placed on the state’s economy and on individuals with mental health concerns or a volatile home life.
“There is a societal cost, also, to just shutting down and not realistically moving forward through this pandemic,” Reynolds said during her daily news conference. “We can do it. We are doing it. We’re going to continue to do it and we’re going to continue to manage it.”
By mid-day Thursday, 400 Iowans had died of COVID-19. Reynolds says she’s monitoring data points that indicate the threat from the virus is “leveling off.” Reynolds has repeatedly said with expanded testing and ample hospital space, the state will be able to manage COVID-19 outbreaks that may occur.
“We have never said that we were going to prevent people from getting COVID-19. That’s unrealistic. It’s unattainable,” Reynolds said Thursday. “What we have to do is learn to live with it and manage the virus. And we have to get things back to normal.”
In a written statement, Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen of Des Moines said Reynolds has presented Iowans with the “false choice” of saving elderly Iowans or saving the economy. Petersen said the number of COVID-19 cases is still increasing and reopening businesses too soon will be deadly for our health and economy.