IOWA, USA — The state of Iowa released new COVID-19 numbers this week, and the data revealed that more Iowans have died from coronavirus to date in 2022 than in the same span of months in 2021.
From January to the end of August — the last full month for data on COVID-19 in 2022 — 1,697 people died. During the same date range in 2021, 1,659 people died, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
This is a vast difference from the number of COVID-19 deaths throughout the country.
Accord to data Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation data, daily deaths are projected to continue trending downward nationwide.
Dr. Payal Kohli, Local 5's medical expert, said the reason deaths might be rising here while decreasing elsewhere is because people might have COVID-19 fatigue and their vaccines are not up to date.
"When the vaccines first came out in January of 2021, many of us were very excited about going out and getting them," Kohli said. "We got the vaccine and we got our booster. But now a year and a half or more later, many of us have not been up to date on our vaccinations and our immunity may have actually gone down."
Nearly 60% of Iowans are vaccinated, and when ranked among other states, Iowa comes in 31 out of 50.
In comparison to other midwestern states like Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, Iowa is averaging higher daily positive COVID-19 cases.
With numbers like that, Kohli said people need to be cautious and remember that the pandemic is not over, especially when the virus is ever evolving.
"The virus has evolved to become more transmissible, and the current variants that are circulating — [like] the omicron variant — are more likely to evade our immune system," Kohli said.
She also noted to prevent from getting severely ill this coming winter, it's important to try and get the latest booster shot.