These States Are Experiencing a Spike in COVID Cases
Over the last month, experts have been warning that despite COVID-19 infections slowing down in most of the country as a result of vaccination, another surge could be on the horizon. This week, their predictions have started to come true. "The variants are playing a part, but it's not completely the variants," Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday during an appearance on Face the Nation. He noted that the spike in cases was likely a result of states lifting restrictions—including indoor dining—something he dubbed "premature," as well as increased traveling due to spring break. Read on to learn about the 24 states where COVID cases are on the rise—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.
The Garden State has become an epicenter of COVID-19 once again, with the number of new infections up by 37% in a little more than a month, to about 23,600 every seven days. They boast the highest per capita infection rate in the country. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has allowed the state's restaurants to operate at half capacity and barbers, salons and other personal care businesses resuming trade. However, due to the recent surge he is hitting pause.
Along with New Jersey, New York is another COVID epicenter once again, with the second highest per capita infection rate in the country. "When we're seeing leveling off of cases or increase, that's when it's a time to rethink policies," Roy Gulick, chief of the infectious diseases division at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center recently commented on the surge.
Cases are surging again in Michigan with an increase in hospitalizations. However, the average patient according to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) is much younger. Hospitalizations increased by 633% for adults ages 30-39 and by 800% for adults ages 40-49. However, the state has no plans to tighten restrictions on indoor dining, sports or other activities. "It's a stark reminder that this virus is still very real. It can come roaring back if we drop our guard," said Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, last week.
Health officials in Rhode Island are concerned about the increase of COVID variants, predicting 40% of new cases are variant strains. "We're very concerned," Dr. Philip Chan, the Medical Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health said. "A lot of experts across the United States including the CDC have predicted a potential new surge." The state is amping up vaccination. "We continue to thread that needle between business opening up as well as with public health and protecting against this pandemic," Dr. Chan said.
Infections and hospitalizations are on the rise in Connecticut, with the state's Department of Public Health reminding residents to remain vigilant. They have also moved some states back into Red Alert status.
Another northeast state experiencing a surge is Massachusetts. "I feel this could be the start of the third wave," Yarmouth Health Director Bruce Murphy told the Boston Herald. "It's a combination of things between the new variants, people not taking all the precautions, going to social gatherings, not wearing masks. We really need to move to emergency vaccination sites to get ahead of this next wave."
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called the recent uptick of cases "concerning" in a statement last week. "As more and more Pennsylvanians are getting vaccinated, we must not forget to follow the mitigation measures still in place," he warned. "As the weather gets warm, please remember to wear a mask, practice social distance and wash your hands frequently as the virus still has a presence in our communities."
Late last week New Hampshire reported an increase in the average number of daily new COVID-19 cases and the state's test positivity rate—especially in those under 60, specifically teenagers and people in their twenties. Gov. Chris Sununu dubbed it a "spring surge."
Delaware reported a slight uptick of infections this week. "The supply is increasing so we have to increase our ability to move it quickly," Gov. John Carney said about the importance of getting more people vaccinated. "I feel much better about supply. There is still a level of scarcity. I'm more concerned now about through-put capacity, mostly of our partners — pharmacies, hospitals, community organizations, our own public health clinics."
In Minnesota, test positivity and hospitalizations have recently increased. "We are in a race between the variants and the vaccine, and we must remain vigilant and work together so the vaccines win," state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm recently explained, encouraging residents to get "vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity."
The small state of Vermont is also experiencing an uptick, something the state's health commissioner Dr. Mark Levine attributes to people getting out more due to the warmer weather. "Our efforts to vaccinate Vermonters is a race against what the virus does best: move easily from person to person," Levine said. "Throughout the country, including up and down the Eastern Seaboard, case numbers are up," he said.
Florida, one of the first states to reopen and most liberal in terms of restrictions and currently hosting spring breakers, is currently experiencing a surge that concerns health officials across the country. "Wherever we have exponential growth, we have the expectation of a surge in cases, and a surge in cases will lead to hospitalizations and deaths," Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the New York Times.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has continued to defend her hands-off COVID response. The state is currently experiencing a spike of cases and increase in hospitalizations, despite one-quarter of their population being vaccinated.
Infections, hospitalizations and ICU hospitalizations are increasing again in West Virginia, primarily in ages 30 to 49. "We've seen what has happened in Michigan, and we absolutely do not want to see that happen in West Virginia," COVID-19 czar Dr. Clay Marsh said during the state COVID-19 briefing on Friday. "It is really critical for us in West Virginia to make ourselves more resilient to the virus," he added.
According to recent statistics, while the spread of COVID in South Carolina is decreasing, hospitalizations are on the rise.
The number of COVID cases are slightly increasing in Alaska, however the state reported no near deaths. This month they also become the first state in the country to open vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older who lives or works in the state.
Colorado experienced a slight uptick of infections. "We're hopefully getting to that light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations are going incredibly well," Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director for infection prevention at UCHealth explained. "We're not there yet, we need about 75% to 85% herd immunity, we're not there yet, until we have herd immunity someone's vulnerable."
While cases have slightly increased in the Nation's capital, they are hoping that an influx of vaccines will undo the damage.
Cases have surged 21.9 percent in Maryland with the state ranking 18th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, per a USA Today Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, recently said in a statement that he is very concerned about their spike. "Recent increases in hospital admissions and test positivity are concerning new developments and we don't want to go down the same path we've seen before and experience a resurgence in the pandemic," she said. "We cannot move forward if our metrics are going backward."
Tennessee is experiencing an all around surge, with cases up 13 percent over the past two weeks, deaths up 20 percent and hospitalizations nine. As of Monday, everyone in Shelby County, the largest in the state and the home of Memphis, over the age of 16 is eligible for the vaccine.
Iowa's Scott County Health Department Interim Director Amy Thoreson summed up the county's rise in daily new COVID-19 infections as "very concerning," pointing to it as "a clear sign" things are not headed in the right direction. "We have seen this before. Case numbers increase, the positivity rate remains high — and 9% is too high — and it's a matter of time before we have much larger problems." Cases are increasing all over the state, with doctors worried that spring break will only make matters worse.
Between Sunday and Monday, Virginia reported a 1,143 case increase, along with a 6.4% 7-day positivity rate for total testing encounters, and a 5.8% 7-day positivity rate for PCR tests. Restrictions continue to ease in the southern state.
North Dakota is experiencing a slight increase in cases. This week, the state will open up vaccine eligibility to all adults.
Keep Doing Your Part to End the Pandemic
In order to end the pandemic, follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, 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, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, 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.