Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States have rocketed above 17.5 million, and as many as 200,000 new ones are announced each day. Fatal cases have reached almost 316,000 and have started to jump by 3,000 per day. There is anxiety that the fatal case count per day could double within a month.
Matters will, as a matter of fact, worsen. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine has one of the most carefully followed and widely regarded COVID-19 prediction models for deaths, daily infections, testing, mask use, hospital resource use and social distancing. Its scientists forecast that 509,000 Americans will die by April 1, if Americans do not take more aggressive measures to arrest the spread of the disease.
The figures for cases and deaths vary widely from state to state. What was a problem in the Northeast, 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 8.9. Vermont, the next state among those with the lowest confirmed case count per 100,000 has 16.9. At the far end of the spectrum, Tennesse has 128.3, followed by Rhode Island at 108.5 and California at 97.6. 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 19,954. Maine has 18,337. Vermont’s count is 6,243. Hawaii also has had 281 fatal cases.
The largest states in terms of the population have taken the brunt of the disease, as would be expected. California’s confirmed case count is 1,809,585. Deaths number 22,436. The confirmed case count in Texas is 1,571,925. Deaths stand at 25,608. The confirmed case count in Florida is 1,181,483. Deaths are at 20,689. In Illinois, confirmed cases are 888,478 and deaths stand at 16,206.
New York State is a case unto itself. While it ranks fifth in confirmed cases at 832,033, coronavirus deaths there total 35,775. 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.