Iowa just took “done with Covid” to a whole new level. On Thursday, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her plan to end the state’s disaster declaration and shut down its case count and vaccination websites later this month, the Des Moines Register reports.
“We cannot continue to suspend duly enacted laws and treat COVID-19 as a public health emergency indefinitely,” Reynolds said in a statement. “After two years, it’s no longer feasible or necessary. The flu and other infectious illnesses are part of our everyday lives, and coronavirus can be managed similarly.”
Still, in a state where less than two-thirds of the population 5 and above are fully vaccinated, it boggles the mind that the government would shut down a website aimed at making it easier for people to get their shots. No one knows what the next phase of the pandemic will look like—whether the virus will fizzle out entirely, or return with a vengeance in the form of another variant. But if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that it’s in our best interest to make it as easy as possible to vaccinate as many people as possible.
The reasoning for ending the emergency declaration makes more sense. Many states have already discontinued theirs, and as Omicron case counts plummet maybe there is a chance to reallocate resources to other purposes (though it’s not clear what those may be).
For Iowans looking for it, the Covid data will still be accessible through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid Data Tracker. But Iowa’s Covid case counts won’t be displayed on a convenient dashboard that makes it easy to see that there are almost 800 Covid patients currently hospitalized in the state.