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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

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