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Reynolds meets with Trump in May. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Iowa is experiencing an "unyielding COVID spread," illustrated by swelling hospital admissions and ICU data, according to a Nov. 8 White House Coronavirus Task Force report obtained by the local ABC News affiliate.

Driving the news: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has repeatedly said that strict rules were unnecessary and ineffective, on Tuesday issued limits on large gatherings and implemented a partial mask mandate for social settings and some businesses.

  • “You can still eat in a restaurant, you can still go to a movie and work out at the gym, and in many states you can’t do that," Reynolds told reporters, per the Des Moines Register
  • "Iowa is open for business and we intend to keep it that way.”  

By the numbers: "The most recent trends, showing steep inclines across all indicators, need immediate action including mask requirements to decrease severity in morbidity and mortality among Iowans," the report says.

  • Iowa has the fourth-highest COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., behind North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, per the task force report.
  • More than 95% of the state's hospitals reported either new confirmed or new suspected coronavirus patients daily between Oct. 31 and Nov. 6.
  • Iowa reported 621 new cases per 100,000 people during that time frame — nearly triple the national average.
  • Confirmed cases have also increased in nursing homes across the state, where 41% reported at least one new staff case between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1.

Details: The task force said...

  • Iowa should limit restaurants' indoor capacity to less than 50% and restrict hours until the case count drops.
  • There should be increased testing of teachers, hospital personnel, care workers and students.
  • Iowa should enforce stricter public mask policies, especially in schools.

Of note: The Iowa Department of Education has approved requests from 24 school districts this month to transition to temporary online learning due to rising cases in students and staff.

Go deeper

22 hours ago - Health

U.S. exceeds 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

People wait outside the Emergency room of the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, California on Dec 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge due to holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data.

18 hours ago - Health

Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take coronavirus vaccine in public

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 2017. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Barack Obama said during an interview on SiriusXM airing Thursday he'll take the COVID-19 vaccine and "may end up taking it on TV." Representatives for George W. Bush and Bill Clinton told CNN they'd also be willing to be inoculated in public.

Why it matters: The former presidents are hoping to instill confidence in the vaccines once authorized for use in the U.S. NIAID director Anthony Fauci has said the U.S. could have herd immunity by the end of next summer or fall if enough people get vaccinated.

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

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