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These States Should Lock Down Now, Says Doctor

These five Midwest states have been ravaged by the deadly virus.
Rapid City, South Dakota

The Midwest, with its sweeping plains and glorious vistas, seems like a place where the coronavirus would go to die—there's plenty of room to social distance, after all. Instead, it's the people who are dying. The region has been hit the hardest in recent weeks, with cases and hospitalizations and COVID-19 related deaths hitting record numbers. "The states in the Midwest need to implement more mitigation measures, and they need to do it now," says Dr. Darren Mareiniss, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and expert in pandemic preparedness, who is currently in the midst of treating patients with the virus. His state, Pennsylvania, has issued a stay-at-home advisory. "This isn't about politics, it's about the hospitals being overrun, and people not getting the care they need. If they want to save more people, they should shut down now." Here are the hardest-hit counties on a per person basis—read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


North Dakota

American bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park with its rugged badlands in the background.

In North Dakota, one in every 10 residents has contracted the virus. It has the highest total reported cases by population. How to put that in perspective? "The size of New Salem, home to some 1,000 people"—and the country's largest cow statue—"has acquired a new kind of significance in the latest chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic in North Dakota," reports the Grand Forks Herald. "A 2019 census estimate puts the town at 989 residents, the same number of North Dakotans who have died with COVID-19 as of Friday, Dec. 4. As the state has passed its 1,000th COVID-19 death, one way to grasp the incomprehensible may be to picture North Dakota without New Salem. It's like losing the cow town completely."


South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota

"Although South Dakota's daily increases have trended down in recent days, about 1 in 68 people in the state of under 1 million people has tested positive in the last two weeks. The state has also reported about 33 deaths per 100,000 people," reports The Hill. "Overall, the state has seen 85,991 cases of the virus and 1,110 deaths, with a test positivity rate of just over 25 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University." Meanwhile, Governor Kristi Noem "one of only a few governors never to impose lockdown measures during the spring wave of the virus, left the state this weekend to participate in the opening ceremonies of a Texas rodeo."



Aerial view of residential houses at autumn

"To visit Iowa right now is to travel back in time to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in places such as New York City and Lombardy and Seattle, when the horror was fresh and the sirens never stopped," reports the Atlantic. "Sick people are filling up ICUs across the state. Health-care workers…are being pushed to their physical and emotional limits. On the TV in my parents' house in Burlington, hospital CEOs are begging Iowans to hunker down and please, for the love of God, wear a mask. This sense of new urgency is strange, though, because the pandemic isn't in its early days. The virus has been raging for eight months in this country; Iowa just hasn't been acting like it."

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Wisconsin Welcome sign at Marinette WI

"Very soon, more people in Wisconsin will have died from COVID-19 in 10 months than died in all types of accidents in 2018, such as traffic crashes and household accidents, making COVID-19 comparable to the third-leading cause of death in Wisconsin," reports WBAY. "That's based on the most recent ranked data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."



Omaha, Nebraska

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in the state increased Sunday for the first time since late last month," reports 1011 Now. "The state said the number of virus hospitalizations increased by 11 people on Sunday to 768 after having declined every day since Nov. 30. That total is significantly below the record of 987 set on Nov. 20, but it is more than triple where it was at the start of October when 227 people were hospitalized."


How to Avoid COVID No Matter Where You Live

Female Wearing Face Mask and Social Distancing

As for yourself, follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, 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, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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