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Opinion

Gov. Reynolds’ dereliction of duty

One only needs a modicum of intelligence to examine the facts and realize Gov. Kim Reynolds’ (R-IA) authoritarian approach – ignoring science and health care experts – in managing Iowa’s COVID-19 pandemic is a bismal failure. Period.

According to Dr. Joel Zinberg, Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine (NY), COVID-19 can kill between 0.2% and 0.6% of those infected (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 13). Reynolds’ blatant inaction could result in 6,000-18,000 deceased Iowans.

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and the U.S. Intelligence Committee knew of the pandemic on Jan. 3. Since mid-March the administration has relegated the pandemic to Governors resulting in American deaths exceeding 240,000.

Likewise, Reynolds has done little-to-nothing. In the evening of our recent election she proudly boasted – while acting like a cheerleader – about Iowa turning red. Was she referring to the Republican Party or the blood drawn via embalming nearly 2,000 Iowans who died at the peril of COVID-19?

In April, Reynolds signed a $26 million no bid contract with Utah-based Nomi Health after a sales pitch from Iowa-native Ashton Kutcher. TestIowa’s April 21 launch was chaotic and under government oversight investigation.

Reynolds ‘StepUpMaskUp’ campaign was a starter but became hypocritical when she failed to practice what she preached by appearing un-masked in small-to-large political gatherings.

What was the return-on-investment to Iowans when Dr. Caitlin Pedati, state epidemiologist, received a Reynolds’ supported $81,734 increase in salary? Answer: higher hospitalizations (~4,000/day) and increased deaths (~20/day).

Iowa Falls-based Times Citizen reported the Iowa Department of Public Health purposely backdated COVID-19 data for months. Iowans have been hoodwinked.

Reynolds spent October campaigning for GOP candidates while expressing little-to-no empathy to Iowans afflicted with COVID-19 and our health care providers. Her prioritization of issues speaks volumes.

When many Republicans seeking office touted Iowa as tackling COVID-19 via a “hands-off approach,” they implicitly admitted – along with Reynolds – to ignoring Center for Disease Control and Iowa health care professionals’ recommendations.

Reynolds has repeatedly rebuffed multiple (July 26, Aug. 9, Aug. 26 and Nov. 8) White House coronavirus task force mask-wearing mandate and social distancing recommendations and advice from many Iowa medical professionals.

Dr. Eli Perencevich, top infectious disease researcher at the University of Iowa said “anything less than a statewide mask mandate if you are out of your home with fines, closing bars and indoors restaurants, cancelling all after-school activities, closing schools and banning gatherings outside your family will not be effective in bending the curve and saving our hospitals. It is lipstick on a pig” (Des Moines Register, Nov. 11).

Reynolds newest coronavirus face mask mitigation measure does NOT apply to schools, houses of worship, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, arcades, fitness centers, casinos, movie theaters, race tracks, grocery stores, retail stores, malls, playgrounds, children’s play centers and government meetings. What’s left?

Reynolds’ policy of groups with 25 or more must wear face masks but 24 people gathering are exempt is – to say the least – laughable.

Reynolds mid-November public awareness campaign is only 8 months late for the families of about 2,000 deceased Iowans.

Iowa’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate is eight times higher than the national average. Iowa is second in the nation for the percentage of total deaths in or related to long-term-care facilities. Iowa is consistently among the top five worse COVID-19 states.

Reynolds needs to oblige the Iowa Board of Health’s Nov. 12 request for a statewide mask mandate and be in compliance with health care and CDC directives.

Iowans deserve a governor who is a true public servant versus a partisan, stubborn, authoritarian and science- and COVID-19 denier. Iowans deserve no less.

•••

Steve Corbin is Professor Emeritus of Marketing at University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls. Corbin is a non-paid freelance opinion editor and guest columnist contributor to 149 newspapers in six states who receives no remuneration, funding or endorsement from any for-profit business, not-for-profit organization, Political Action Committee or political party.

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