These 5 States are the Next COVID Hotspots, Warn Experts
As spring beckons, the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination effort is picking up speed, and many states have lifted COVID-19 restrictions. But experts are concerned about coronavirus hotspots that are developing across the country, in which the number of cases are flat or moving upward. Americans' eagerness to return to normal life is clashing against the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants, like B.1.1.7, a U.K. strain that may be up to 61% more deadly than the original coronavirus. "It's like we're in the home stretch where it hurts more than any other time," Mary Jo Trepka, an epidemiologist at Florida International University, told the Washington Post this week. "But if you give up now, you've given up the entire race." Here are five new COVID hotspots you should know about. Read on and to ensure your health, remember: Doctors Say "DO NOT" Do This After Your COVID Vaccine.
In Michigan, hospitalizations and positive COVID tests are rising, and only one state—Florida—has reported more cases of the B.1.1.7 variant. Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, senior public health physician at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, told Bridge Michigan this week that the state is approaching a "tipping point." We need to pay attention. "I'm pleading with you, for the sake of our nation's health. These should be warning signs for all of us," says CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. "Cases climbed last spring. They climbed again in the summer. They will climb now if we stop taking precautions when we continue to get more and more people vaccinated."
In Minnesota, daily cases have been rising over the past week, worrying officials. An outbreak of B.1.1.7 in Carver County—where cases rose 62 percent from Feb. 24 to March 4—originated with school-related sporting events. On Tuesday, MPR News reported that new daily cases hit a one-month high last Sunday, at the same time vaccination rates in the state are flat or declining because of a lull in vaccine shipments.
In New York City and the surrounding counties, new daily COVID cases are no longer dropping by double digits, as they were in January. In fact, they've been flat for more than three weeks. The culprits: A new variant which was identified in New York City called B.1.527, and the UK variant B.1.1.7.
Hospitalizations and the state's positivity rate are increasing, CBS Baltimore reported this week. Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan surprised many when he loosened restrictions, allowing bars, restaurants, gyms and churches to open to their full capacity.
On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy reported that the state's seven-day average for new cases was up 9% from the week before and 10% from the previous month. This week, the state expanded vaccine eligibility to people with 10 conditions who are at risk for severe COVID-19.
How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.