At times, the lines at some establishments stretched out the door. The crowded, indoor social gatherings during the pandemic are a concern for Sam Jarvis, the community health manager for Johnson County Public Health. “There’s definitely a yearning and a desire to do normal again and certainly many are happy to see football season return,” Jarvis says, “but we really just want to reiterate that we’ve got to still keep those measures in place, and all those safe practices.”
Elsewhere in town, students held large house parties, or pulled TVs outside to watch the Hawks in small groups. Jarvis says it’s incredibly important for Iowans to continue to take precautions to slow the spread of coronavirus. “Going into, whether its football season, flu season, colder weather, where persons are more than likely going to have to be indoors due to weather,” Jarvis says, “these are just still very important practices to put in place.”
COVID-19 cases in Johnson County declined dramatically after Governor Kim Reynolds closed bars earlier this fall. Now that those restrictions are lifted, a resurgence in cases is a constant worry. Statewide, hospitals are seeing a surge in patients as cases and deaths increase.
According to the New York Times, Iowa’s death rate is twice that of the nation as a whole. A tweet from University of Iowa Health Care reads: “Overwhelmed hospitals. Something we’ve tried to avoid since the pandemic hit Iowa could be a reality if #COVID19 numbers continue to rise.”
(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)