Illinois & Iowa approaches to COVID-19 Delta variant reinforce political division

4 The Record

Mask mandates and vaccine requirements in Illinois while Iowa maintains status quo

The recent increases in cases of COVID-19 bring different reactions from the governors of Iowa and Illinois.

Former Iowa Republican Party Chair Steve Grubbs and former Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert, a Democrat, joined this week’s 4 The Record to discuss it as part of our panel.

Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker issued an executive order Wednesday in response to the growing cases of COVID-19’s Delta variant in his state.

It does a few things.

A mask mandate is now in place for students and all employees at schools.

It includes private schools that get government money.

The same goes for day care facilities in Illinois and long-term care operations regardless of vaccination status.

Pritzker’s order also requires all employees in round-the-clock, state-owned facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 4.

This goes for places like veterans’ homes, correctional facilities, juvenile justice centers and more.

Pritzker points out the rate of hospitalizations and intensive care bed occupancy in the state more than doubled in a month.

Here we go again.

Grubbs and Schwiebert discussed how effective they think this action will be to get the desired result of more vaccinations.

Iowa

It’s a much different approach across the Mississippi River.

While Pritzker is following CDC recommendations, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds remains mask averse.

Remember, Iowa passed laws that prevent local governments from adopting their own mask mandates.

She maintains “telling fully vaccinated Iowans to now wear masks is not only counterproductive to our vaccination efforts, but also not grounded in reality or common sense.”

Reynolds says “the vaccine remains our strongest tool to combat COVID-19” and goes on to add she trusts Iowans to do the right thing.

Scott County has about 48 percent of its population fully vaccinated. It’s 50 percent for Iowa’s 3,139,508 residents. Illinois is at 49 percent of its 12,770,631 population. 63.2 percent of Illinois residents have received at least one dose, while 54 percent have done the same in Iowa.

Deaths in Iowa over the past week are down 50 percent, but up 86 percent in Illinois.

If you go back to the Spanish Flu pandemic, the second year was worse than the first.

One of my favorite quotes comes from philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

More companies are requiring vaccines.

Schwiebert and Grubbs discussed if Reynolds can afford to maintain her position or if she should implement a vaccine mandate for state employees in Iowa.

Question of the week

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