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5 States Where COVID Is "Out of Control," Say Experts

See if your state is on the list.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Even though the summer surge of COVID-19 might lead some to think the pandemic has nowhere to go but down, the numbers continue to rise, with new cases at a level not seen since February. In some states, caseloads and hospitalizations have more than doubled, and health systems are overwhelmed. These are five states where experts warn that COVID is out of control. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.

1

Florida

Mizner Park outdoor mall Boca Raton Florida
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Last Thursday, Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said COVID cases were spiraling "out of control" as the highly urban county—home to Ft. Lauderdale—has seen one of the nation's highest rates of COVID spread. According to data gathered by the New York Times, statewide, Florida has the second-highest number of new cases per 100,000 residents in the U.S.

2

Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi, USA skyline over the Capitol Building.
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Mississippi is the state with the highest number of new cases per capita. With hospitals over capacity, coronavirus patients are now being treated in tents in parking garages, the Times reported on Tuesday. "We have reached a failure point," LouAnn Woodward, the top executive at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said late last week. "The demand has exceeded our resources."

3

West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
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In West Virginia, new COVID cases are up 163% compared to 14 days ago—the nation's largest increase—and hospitalizations are up 69%. Only 4 in 10 of the state's residents are fully vaccinated. "There's going to be more and more and more people that die, until we really aggressively get more people vaccinated," West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said during a briefing on Monday. "There is no pathway out of this other than to be vaccinated."

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4

North Dakota

American bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park with its rugged badlands in the background.
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After West Virginia, North Dakota has seen the country's second-highest increase in new COVID cases in the last 14 days. They are up 98%, and hospitalizations have risen 51%. On Monday, the Grand Forks Herald reported that 1 in 500 North Dakotans has died of COVID-19. "That's a sobering statistic particularly when it could have been prevented with a mask or vaccine — or both," said Dr. Jeremy Cauwels, chief physician of local health system Sanford Health.

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5

South Dakota

South Dakota Welcome sign
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According to the New York Times, COVID-related hospitalizations in South Dakota are up 111% over two weeks ago, just after the conclusion of the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. It's the highest increase in hospitalizations in the country. New COVID cases are up 96%. The Duluth News Tribune attributed the surge to the area's low vaccination rate and to Sturgis, where attendees mingled largely mask-free in local bars and restaurants. "Think of it as a lit match touching dry tinder," the paper said.

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6

How to Stay Safe Out There

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Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.