After the U.S. set several new records for daily new COVID-19 cases in July, the spread of the virus appears to have slowed in August. Though infections are decreasing, some states have not yet seen the worst of the pandemic, according to one model. In fact, 35 states are not projected to hit their peak in terms of infections per capita until mid-September or later.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — an independent global health research center at the University of Washington — on the estimated peak COVID-19 dates for every state, both in terms of the total number of estimated active infections and the total number of hospital beds needed to treat COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 infections and the hospital capacity needed to treat patients are projected to increase in most states for a variety of reasons. The IHME reported that, while social distancing mandates have remained relatively unchanged in states over the past few weeks, mobility is up and mask usage has dropped to below 50%. The projections indicate that increased mask usage could reduce projected U.S. COVID-19 deaths from 317,000 to 250,000.
With no uniform federal guidelines on how to reduce the spread of the virus, states have determined their own best course of action. Some states have reported significant declines in the average number of daily new COVID-19 cases per capita last week as compared to the week before, while others have seen sharp increases. In one state, the number of confirmed cases per capita more than doubled week-over-week. These are the states where the spread of the virus is slowing, and where it is getting worse.