The coronavirus pandemic is taking another dangerous upswing across the United States, just as the country learns that President Trump has tested positive for Covid-19. Hours earlier, the president told a group of donors that the “end of the pandemic is in sight.”
With coronavirus hot spots sprawling across the Midwest and Mountain West, one in five states is now “at a tipping point” for Covid-19 infections. The number of high-risk states has jumped from four to 10 in the past two weeks, according to the risk-assessment map run by the Harvard Global Health Institute and Brown School of Public Health.
The color-coded map provides an easy way for Americans to assess how quickly the disease is spreading in a state or county. Each state has a rating of green, yellow, orange or red, based upon the number of new daily cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average.
Based on the tracker’s latest data, 10 states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Utah, Iowa, Montana, Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma and Alabama — are now in the red zone, which means they have 25 or more new positive Covid-19 cases every day per 100,000 people. At that level of spread, states should be under stay-at-home orders, according to the Harvard and Brown researchers.
The spread of the disease accelerated across America’s heartland during September. Three weeks ago, only North Dakota was in the red zone. Since September 11, the Roughrider State’s caseload climbed a whopping 67%, from 32.1 to 53.7 new daily cases per 100,000 people.
The state with the second-highest risk level is South Dakota, 44.5 new cases per day, followed by Wisconsin with 41.5.
In addition, the 20 states that are colored orange on the map are also over the threshold for allowing non-essential travel, according to public health officials. Orange signifies that the community has 10 or more new daily positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average. These states are experiencing an “accelerated spread” of Covid-19, with “stay-at-home orders and/or test and trace programs advised,” according to the Harvard and Brown researchers.
Alarmingly, the numbers are going in the wrong direction, as 28 states — a majority of the country — are experiencing an increase in new cases compared to last week, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
States labeled yellow on the Harvard-Brown map are not in the clear. Yellow means there is between one and nine new cases of Covid-19 each day per 100,000 people, which still signifies community spread.
Only Vermont is in the green zone, which means fewer than one new daily case per 100,000 people. That signifies that the disease is “on track for containment.”
Nearly 207,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. A well-regarded model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington is currently projecting that the U.S. will hit 371,000 Covid-19 deaths by January 1, 2021. The model predicts that the death rate will rise throughout the fall and reach up to 5,300 per day by New Year’s Day, up from about 990 a day now.