• The latest coronavirus update we have shows the COVID-19 pandemic now striking the US heartland much more at the moment, after weeks and months of places like New York and Florida being hit the hardest.
  • The White House Coronavirus Task Force in a new report has identified one Midwest state, in particular, as having what may be the worst coronavirus outbreak in the country right now.
  • That state is Iowa, and the White House officials’ report recommends the state take action like implementing a statewide face mask mandate.

The latest coronavirus update reflecting where the deadly COVID-19 virus is striking the hardest right now in the US shows the pandemic moving deeper into the country, away from the hotspots we’ve been reading about for months now in places like New York and Florida. Flare-ups are now especially being seen around the Midwest, such as at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign which had been previously regarded as a kind of model for how colleges can reopen in the age of the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, and in spite of a mass coronavirus testing effort encompassing both staff and students there, the university has announced that about 1,000 students have tested positive for the virus since the twice-a-week COVID-19 testing program began at the school on August 16. Accordingly, the school has announced a lockdown for undergraduates that will last for two weeks. Meantime, on a similar note, White House officials have just pointed to a neighboring Midwest state for having what may actually be the worst coronavirus outbreak in the country right now (based on the number of new cases, as well as the positive test rate).

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has sent a warning to Iowa in a new report about the state, which looks to have the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the US as of the time of this writing based on the 36.9 cases per day per 100,000 residents, as well as a positive coronavirus test rate of a little more than 18%. The task force’s warning includes the recommendation that Iowa shut all bars immediately. Additionally, it suggests that indoor dining in restaurants be cut to 25% of the restaurants’ normal capacity, and that local officials put a face mask mandate in place statewide.

“Iowa is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the highest rate in the country,” the August 30 report reads, according to press accounts. “Iowa is in the red zone for test positivity, indicating a rate above 10 percent, with the 5th highest rate in the country.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in recent days ordered all bars, nightclubs, and breweries in six counties to shut down. Restaurants are also not allowed to sell alcohol after 10 p.m., but Reynolds has thus far resisted calls for a face mask mandate statewide, however, calling such orders “not enforceable.”

According to data from The New York Times, meanwhile, Iowa’s coronavirus outbreak is up 127% from two weeks ago, with the state now seeing an average of almost 1,200 new coronavirus cases a day.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.