Special Report

States Where the Virus Spread Is Slowing (and Where It’s Still Getting Worse)

Infectious disease experts have long warned that the U.S. could face a second wave of COVID-19 during the fall and winter. In the second week of October, cases have been on the rise. Health authorities reported over 50,000 confirmed new infections in three different days so far in October, whereas there was only one such day in September. 

Nationwide, there were an average of 13.8 daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 U.S. residents in the week ending Oct. 11. This is an increase from the week before, in which there were an average of 12.9 daily new cases per 100,000 Americans. This increase has affected nearly all parts of the country — only 11 states reported a week-over-week decline in daily average cases.

Using data from state and local health departments, 24/7 Wall St. calculated each state’s average of new daily confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week ending Oct. 11 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 has relatively unchanged, and where it is still increasing.

When comparing the week ending on Oct. 11 to the week before, the average number of daily new cases in the U.S. increased by 0.9 cases per 100,000 residents. In a dozen states, the average number of daily new cases per capita increased by more than four times as much. Five of these states are in the West, four are in the Midwest, two are in the South, and one is in the Northeast. 

Four of the five states with the largest declines in their daily average cases per capita week of week are located in the South. Each of these states still reported daily average case per capita figures that were higher than the nationwide rate overall.

The Midwest region is struggling with relatively high infection rates — of the 11 states to average more than 25 daily new cases per 100,000 residents, six are in the Midwest. Only two of the 13 Midwest states averaged fewer daily new cases per capita over the past week than the U.S. average of 13.8 per 100,000.

Conversely, only one Northeastern state reported a higher average of daily new cases over the past week than the U.S. average. The West was a mixed bag, with states ranging anywhere from 6.8 to 43.4 daily new cases per 100,000. No Southern state had among either the very highest or very lowest averages of daily new cases per capita.

A high rate of infections per capita is often attributable, at least in part, to an outbreak or clusters of outbreaks within a city, county, or community. A number of counties have reported significant resurgences, averaging dozens of daily new cases per capita, even though these areas reported spikes earlier in the pandemic. These are the places where COVID-19 is resurging.

Even as COVID-19 is infecting more Americans, many states are continuing to relax social distancing guidelines at places like restaurants. Many restaurants, however, are restricted to just 25% of their capacity, while others have expanded to 50% or even 100% capacity in recent weeks. These are the restaurant reopening restrictions in every state.

Click here to see how the virus is spreading in all 50 states