After several weeks of declining COVID-19 cases, health authorities nationwide reported more average daily cases per capita in the most recent week than in the week before. There were 11.5 average daily new cases of the virus for every 100,000 Americans in the week ending Sept. 20. In the week ending Sept. 13, there were an average of 10.9 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Americans.
This increase was not evenly dispersed among states. While some states actually reported fewer daily new COVID-19 cases week over week, the majority of states — 37 — reported more new cases per day. Similarly, while the U.S. reported an average increase of 0.6 daily new cases per 100,000 week-over-week, nine states reported an increase over five times higher, eclipsing 3.0 additional average daily new cases per 100,000 residents compared to the previous week.
Using data from state and local health departments, 24/7 Wall St. calculated average new daily confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week ending Sept. 20 and compared it to the average from the previous week to determine the states where the spread of the coronavirus is declining the fastest, where it is remaining relatively unchanged, and where it is still increasing.
Unlike many past weeks, there does not appear to be one region that makes up a large share of the states where the virus is spreading the fastest. The Western, Southern, and Midwestern regions of the country each had at least three states in the top 10 states where the coronavirus is spreading the fastest as well as in the 10 states where its spread is decreasing.
All of the Northeastern states had relatively minor fluctuations in their average daily case counts. In all nine states in the region, average daily cases per capita for the week ending September 20 are also below the national average. The vast majority of states with the highest averages of daily new cases per capita in the last week are either in the Midwest or the South.
Cases may be increasing for a number of reasons, including the relaxing of social distancing and safety measures by state and local officials. COVID-19 may also be spreading as students return to schools. There are dozens of colleges across the country in which hundreds of students have been infected since the school year began in August. These are the colleges that reported spikes in COVID-19 cases after reopening.