On Dec. 21, Congress approved a long-awaited economic relief bill to help Americans contend with the financial fallout from COVID-19. The $900 billion bill includes $600 direct payments for adults, $300 of additional benefits per week for those experiencing unemployment or reduced employment, and $28 billion for vaccine purchases and distribution. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law after the holiday break.
While vaccine distribution began across much of the country, the country is still contending with the largest wave of COVID-19 — there have been over 165,000 new cases each day in December. There were only six days with that many cases before December, all in November.
There are large differences in the spread of the virus from state to state. In two states, there were over 100 average daily new cases per 100,000 people in the week ending Dec. 20. In two other states, there were fewer than 20 average daily new infections per 100,000 in the same week.
Using data from state and local health departments, 24/7 Wall St. calculated each state’s average of new daily COVID-19 cases for the week ending Dec. 20 and compared it to the average from the previous week to determine the states where the spread of the coronavirus is increasing the fastest.
After several weeks of significant increases, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents nationwide actually declined during the week ending Dec. 20 compared to the week before — dropping just slightly, from 65 to 63 cases per 100,000.
In most states, the number of average daily new cases per capita declined in the most recent week compared to the week before. Yet some of the most populous states in the country — such as California, Texas, Florida, New York, and more — reported large increases in the number of new infections per capita week-over-week. The five states with the largest week-over-week declines in new cases — South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, and Nebraska — are all among the smallest states in terms of population, with fewer than 2 million residents apiece.
Some states have implemented in recent weeks new health and safety measures designed to curb the spread of the virus. These measures include dining restrictions and quarantine requirements for people traveling from certain states. These are the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions in every state.