The State of Iowa is making a mistake in not telling people how many of the known COVID-19 patients have recovered. It’s one we hope they will correct quickly.

Iowa’s leaders haven’t been perfect. Closures and other measures to stem the virus’ spread across the state came, in retrospect, a bit later than they probably should have. But they weren’t wildly out of step with other states’ actions. They did not exhibit the kind of defiant attitude some urged, and we have to think the state has benefitted from that.

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ handling of this pandemic will go a long way toward defining her tenure as governor. Facing a crisis like this is a genuine test of leadership, and there’s a long way to go before anything like a final grade can be given.

There is one thing Reynolds is unmistakably doing right. Rather than fobbing off the responsibility for updates on other staff, Reynolds has been visibly at the head of those now-daily sessions. There are times when it’s not just enough to direct a response. Leaders must be seen to lead. And Reynolds seems to understand that fact.

That brings us back to the original statement we made here, and why we’re scratching our heads at Iowa’s apparent reluctance to announce how many people have recovered from COVID-19. Part of leadership is offering people a plausible outcome, an endgame toward which we can work. Recoveries offer that.

Absent the information about Iowans who have recovered, people are left with a steady drumbeat of new cases and, increasingly, new deaths. That’s the way it is going to be for a while. We’re not at the peak of this crisis yet. Even when we reach that point there will be weeks, perhaps months, to go before normal is anything more than a dream.

In times like these, knowing that people have recovered from this virus is important. Seeing those figures climb provides a psychological boost that can’t be gained from most other things.

Every recovery is a victory. For the patients, certainly, as well as their families. But it’s a gain for all of us. People in times like these desperately need good news. That’s why we’ve sought out some stories about the sheer kindness being shown and why we hope our readers will continue to tip us off about others.

Recoveries are the good news people need, and the state’s hesitancy to release those figures in the same way as they are new cases and hospitalizations makes little sense. Those trends are rising and will continue to do so for some time. Why would the state not show a positive trend that is also rising?

Fortunately, this mistake isn’t one that will cost lives or endanger people. It can be corrected with relative ease.

We hope the state will take steps to release recovery statistics in the same way as it does others. It’s a boost for the public, and one everyone can use.

Recommended for you