We have another female Republican Governor now described in the Mainstream Media as queen of a death cult – Iowa’s Kim Reynolds. In coverage reminiscent of reporting on South Dakota’s Kristi Noem’s decision to adopt a relatively hands-off approach to CCP Virus-fighting in terms of business, personal behavior, and school restrictions, it was practically no time before Reynolds – whose virus strategy has been similar – started receiving the same treatment for her February 5 decision to lift a mask-wearing mandate she’d originally imposed on November 17.
But just as the charges against Noem were completely irresponsible because they lacked any meaningful context, the accusations faced by Reynolds fall apart for the same reasons once any effort is made to find genuine comparisons.
In the case of South Dakota, as explained in my December 9 post, its CCP virus record was awfully close to that of New Mexico, a demographically similar state (with somewhat warmer weather to boot) whose Democratic Governor’s strategy was much more restrictive. And just about the same conclusions emerge from a detailed comparison of Iowa and strikingly similar Nevada – also governed by a Democrat.
For example, the former’s population is estimated right now at 3.16 million, the latter’s, 3.19 million. The median Iowan is 38.2 years old, the median Nevadan 38. (See here.) The big demographic difference is in population density – Iowa is nearly twice as more crowded (57 people per square mile) than Nevada (29). So all else equal, the virus should have spread more slowly in Nevada. And another coronavirus-related advantage enjoyed by the Silver State: In November, when case numbers rose strongly in both states, its weather stayed considerably warmer for longer.
(See this website and look up the figures for Des Moines and Las Vegas – where some 73 percent of Nevadans lived in 2019. (See here and here for Clark County and the entire state.) Des Moines is home to many fewer Iowans proportionately – just over 15 percent. (See here and here for Polk County and all of Iowa.) At the same time, it’s located in the middle of the state, so its weather would seem much more representative of Iowa’s as a whole than Las Vegas,’ which sits the southeastern-most corner of Nevada.)
There’s no question that Iowa’s virus-fighting efforts have been much less restrictions-heavy than Nevada’s. Indeed, according to an index compiled by Wallethub.com, between last April and last month, the former has gone from the 40th most restrictive state in terms of “prevention and containment” measures to the third least restrictive state overall. In April, Nevada was the 38th most restrictive state and by January had moved only to the middle of the pack.
But despite these major policy differences, the two otherwise decidedly similar states look decidedly alike in terms of virus infections and deaths patterns.
For instance, from February 29 (the starting date for the Washington Post virus tracker I’m using here) through November 17 (when Iowa’s Reynolds imposed her mask mandate after refraining from substantial restrictions until then), Iowa’s seven-day average (7DA) for cases rose from zero to 4,189. Nevada’s rose at less than half that rate (to just 1,641), but don’t forget – it’s population density is much lower, and most of its inhabitants lived in a significantly warmer region.
Since February 5, when Reynolds lifted Iowa’s mask mandate, through February 12 (a Friday, and therefore a day whose data is likely complete, at least for now), the 7DA for cases has dropped from 848 to 668. That’s a short time sample, but a noteworthy 21.23 percent fall-off.
It’s also very close to Nevada’s comparable 888 to 647 drop, even though that state’s masks are still supposed to be on.
The fatality figures tell an even more revealing story, especially taking into account Nevada’s lower population density and balmier temperatures. During that February 29 through November 17 period, Nevada’s 7DA daily virus death count rose from zero to 8. Iowa’s increase more than twice as fast (zero to 22), but again, it’s more densely populated and was colder.
But during the February 5-12 stretch, the Nevada 7DA daily death numbers declined from just 35 to 29, while Iowa’s are down from 70 to 22.
As should be obvious from this analysis, identifying terrific apples-to-apples comparisons between states is difficult. But anyone who can look at the Iowa and Nevada figures and find a clear-cut case that mask-wearing and other restrictions have stemmed the CCP Virus tide, and that more laissez-faire strategies are recipes for needless mass suffering, must be wearing a psychological or ideological mask.