Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States have rocketed above 15.2 million, and as many as 200,000 new ones are announced each day. Fatal cases have reached almost 290,000 and have started to jump by 1,500 per day. There is anxiety that the fatal case count per day could double within a month.
The figures for cases and deaths vary widely from state to state. What was a problem in the Northeast and Illinois and Michigan in March and April spread to the West and South in the summer. More recently, the Upper Midwest, particularly North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Minnesota have been savaged.
One state stands out with the lowest number of cases per 100,000, which is the standard measure of the presence of COVID-19 in any geographic area. Hawaii’s figure is 6.7. Vermont, the next state among those with the lowest confirmed case count per 100,000, has 19.2. At the far end of the spectrum, Rhode Island has 123.5, followed by Indiana at 102.6 and South Dakota at 98.9. The contrast between the top of the list and the bottom is staggering.
What Hawaii has done to keep cases down is not magic. It has followed strict protocols, particularly to keep outsiders out. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Hawaii tightened its rules this week so visitors must have proof of a negative test result by the time they land in Hawaii. Those who don’t will need to quarantine for 14 days or the full length of their trip, whichever is shorter, even if a negative test result becomes available after their arrival.” The cost of this has been a drop in tourism and substantial damage to the state’s economy.
Mask wearing and social distancing are also part of day-to-day life, compared to states that have been hit much harder.
Base on a raw count of confirmed cases, Hawaii ranks third lowest in the country at 18,976. Maine has 14,049. Vermont’s count is 5,180. Hawaii also has had 262 fatal cases.
The largest states in terms of population have taken the brunt of the disease, as would be expected. California’s confirmed case count is 1,425,152. Coronavirus deaths number 20,238. The confirmed case count in Texas is 1,371,957. Fatal cases stand at 23,439. The confirmed case count in Florida is 1,073,770, with deaths at 19,627. In Illinois, confirmed cases are 805,794 and fatalities stand at 14,392.
New York State is a case unto itself. While it ranks fifth in confirmed cases at 728,010, coronavirus deaths there total 34,723. The state was so badly hit in March and April, particularly in New York City and the surrounding areas, that the fatal case number almost certainly will not be topped by any state, even as infections spread more rapidly nationwide.
From New York, Hawaii is worlds away.