After months of downplaying the toll of the COVID-19 crisis and recklessly calling for Iowa to “reopen,” Senator Joni Ernst has once again shown there’s no length she won’t go to disregard the catastrophe facing Iowa communities:

ERNST: “Iowa has fared pretty well… We have not been hit nearly as hard as some of the more metro areas or coastal areas” [Iowa Starting Line, 4/28/2020]

REALITY: Iowa has distinguished itself as one of the worst states in the country in growth of COVID-19 outbreak and faces some of the largest numbers of cases per capita. Worse, Iowa’s first peak in deaths is at least a week away, with a second wave predicted to come if GOP leaders prematurely roll back safety guidelines.

To the public’s knowledge – without full data due to lack of widespread testing and minimal transparency – Iowa has faced over 130 deaths, soaring new cases, 23 long-term facility outbreaks, widespread infections at packing plants, over 232,000 Iowans laid off, and massive economic consequences on state and local communities.

“Our state is facing the worst crisis in decades, yet Senator Ernst continues to write off Iowans’ pain and suffering as insignificant and ignorable. Senator Ernst’s words are beyond shameful – but even worse is her refusal to act as Iowans continue to die from this crisis,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson.

Iowa Starting Line: Ernst: ‘Iowa Has Fared Pretty Well’ During Coronavirus Pandemic

By: Libby Meyer

April 28, 2020

  • Iowa has the fourth-highest growth rate of coronavirus in the country and some of the nation’s largest numbers of cases per capita, yet in a recent interview with Breitbart, Sen. Joni Ernst said the state “has fared pretty well” during the pandemic.
  • “Iowa has fared pretty well. We are a very rural state, but some of the restrictions that have been put in place by our governor have worked quite well,” Ernst said during a radio interview last week. “We are of course saddened by the deaths that we have had, but we have not been hit nearly as hard as some of the more metro areas or coastal areas. We have had a couple of recent outbreaks at some of our meat processing facilities — because they are essential workers they continue going into work and being with each other every day — but overall Iowa has done very well through the pandemic.”
  • Iowa has confirmed outbreaks (positive cases among three or more residents) of COVID-19 at 23 long-term care facilities in Black Hawk, Bremer, Dallas, Dubuque, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Tama and Washington counties.
  • As for meatpacking plants and other commercial businesses, state officials classify the number of cases as an “outbreak” when at least 10% of workers report symptoms associated with COVID-19. The state’s coronavirus website does not track the number of workplaces experiencing a coronavirus outbreak, but reporting has shown large numbers of cases among employees at multiple Tyson facilities, Prestage Foods, JBS, National Beef Co.’s Iowa Premium, TPI Composites and Whirlpool, among others.
  • Louisa County still ranks among the nation’s top 10 “hot spots” with 267 cases per 2,379 people due to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Tyson Foods.
  • In recent days, New York Times data found Sioux City and its surrounding metro had the nation’s highest average daily growth of news cases.
  • In all, last week the coronavirus spread faster in Iowa than in any other state in the country.
  • Iowa has yet to “flatten the curve,” with 349 new cases and nine deaths announced Monday, bringing the statewide totals (as of Sunday morning) to 5,868 and 127, respectively.