The pace of the spread of COVID-19 has slowed across America. Increases in daily fatal cases and confirmed cases are about half what they were seven weeks ago. Nevertheless, 555,577 Americans have died, which is about 20% of the world’s total. Confirmed cases have reached 30,549,435, or about 25% of the global number. Hospitalizations, which had reached over 100,000 during the peak wave, dropped into the thousands. However, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports they have begun to rise again in 25 states.
The range of the severity of the disease by state and county varies considerably. In a very small number of the 3,143 U.S. counties and county-equivalents, not a single person has died of COVID-19.
The pace of the spread of the disease remains in part a race between vaccinations and the rising number of potentially dangerous variants. So far, 29% of the adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine and 16% are fully vaccinated. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, the one from Johnson & Johnson requires just a single dose. According to The New York Times, 180,646,565 doses have been delivered in the United States and 145,812,835 of them have been administered.
Variants are among the dangers epidemiologist and public health officials worry about. At least one, first identified in the United Kingdom, could soon account for most new U.S. cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently tracks three variants for the public. They have been found in all 50 states, and a number of other variants have emerged that the CDC does not report on to the public.
Additionally, much of the country has “opened up,” and this has caused worries that there will be a fourth wave of the disease. The nation’s newspapers were filled with reports of large college parties in Florida with hundreds of people in close proximity without masks.
One way public health officials measure cases, hospitalizations and deaths is per 100,000 people. This allows for comparisons from county to county and state to state. The state where COVID-19 cases are surging can best be measured by the increase in hospitalization week over the previous week. Based on that measure, the hardest-hit state is South Dakota. When the week of March 14 to March 20 is compared to the week of March 21 to March 27, hospitalizations are up 71.1% in the state. That is well ahead of the next state on the list, which is Michigan at 55.2%.
South Dakota was devastated by COVID-19 at the end of last year as Governor Kristi Noem refused to close the state. Things had improved substantially, until the past few days.
The States Where COVID-19 Is Surging
|State||Hospitalizations per 100K||Change From Prior Week|
Data is for the week of March 21 to March 27.