Another wave of COVID-19 infections recently began in America — the fourth by most measures. It has been triggered, primarily, by the new omicron variant, which currently accounts for the vast majority of new cases in the U.S. Its spread outside this country has been extraordinary, overwhelming the U.K. and accounting for a remarkable surge in London.
In the U.S. cases are also spreading fast, with the daily average up over 133% nationwide over the past 14 days to an average of 803,736 cases a day, or 242 daily cases per 100,000 people, according to The New York Times. In some states, the situation is far worse, and the most dangerous state for COVID-19 is Rhode Island.
The U.S. is in for a brutal winter in terms of the pandemic, perhaps worse than the period last December and January. Omicron spreads more rapidly than earlier variants, and people have recently gathered together in airports, indoor venues, and their homes during the holidays. In addition, a large portion of the population is not vaccinated.
There also appear to be more breakthrough cases with this variant. These cases involve infection among those who are fully vaccinated, including having had a booster. The previous peak of daily cases was above 250,000 a day last January. This peak has been broken.
There are several ways to measure how dangerous a geographic area is. Among these are new cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and vaccinations. And these can be measured by averages over seven- or 14-day periods. For vaccinations, the yardstick is the percentage of the population that has received a shot, or two, or three. (These are the states where the most people are vaccinated.)
To find the most dangerous state, 24/7 Wall St. chose the measure of average daily cases over the most recent seven days per 100,000, using data from federal, state, and local sources as of Jan. 13.
The state with the highest seven-day average of daily cases per 100,000 people is Rhode Island at 507.8. This figure is 266% higher what it was 14 days ago. The daily average of the past seven days in the state is 5,369 cases.
Behind Rhode Island are New York, with 70,000 average daily cases over the past seven days, or 358.2 cases per 100,000 people. Next is Massachusetts, with a seven-day average of daily cases of 24,722, which also translates to 358.2 per 100,000.
Rhode Island does not rank first in terms of 14-day change, however. The state with the highest change is South Carolina, where cases jumped a whopping 2,472% to an average of 13,022 daily cases, or 256 per 100,000.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced the federal government will deploy six teams of military doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan, and New Mexico. As hospitalizations have been breaking all-time records as well, many U.S. hospitals have been grappling with staffing and other shortages. These are 16 states where hospitals are experiencing the worst workforce shortages.
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