Less than five months after the first Iowan succumbed to the novel coronavirus, the official count of COVID-19 fatalities reached 1,002 on the evening of August 18.
The pandemic has now claimed more Iowa lives than 60 years of foreign wars. Data compiled by the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs shows 868 military service members died in Vietnam, as did two in Panama or Grenada during the 1980s, seven in the Persian Gulf war of the early 1990s, 64 in the Iraq War that began in 2003, and 31 in Afghanistan.
COVID-19 has killed more Iowans in five months than diabetes, the state’s seventh-leading cause of death, does in a typical year.
More Iowans have passed away of coronavirus since March than died in vehicle accidents during 2017, 2018, and 2019 combined.
Publicly available data show the pace of deaths has been accelerating, even before most Iowa students return to K-12 schools or colleges. Those official numbers almost certainly undercount the lives lost.