These 6 States Need Another Lockdown, Harvard Researchers Say
Based on the data, experts say these states must institute stay-at-home orders immediately.
With the rapid rise in COVID numbers across the country, many states are now pausing their reopening plans—if not returning to lockdown entirely. The hardest hit states are seeing more coronavirus cases, more COVID hospitalizations, and even more deaths, though the death rate nationwide has gone down. With that in mind, governors and other state officials are looking to determine whether they can take measures like instituting new mask mandates, or if their states will need to enter lockdown again in order to stop the spread of the virus.
The Harvard Global Health Institute might be able to help: Researchers recently released a map of the country that assesses the level of COVID risk in every state. According to these experts, the states with the most severe outbreaks—those that appear in red on the map—no longer have the option of considering potential stay-at-home orders. By Harvard's calculations, lockdown in these states should be mandatory. And for more states to keep an eye on, The 2 States Where Coronavirus Is Spreading Fastest Will Surprise You.
Of all the states that are marked red on the Harvard Map, Arizona has the highest number of daily new cases per 100,000 people at 48. In addition to rapidly rising cases, the state is also dealing with a severe increase in hospitalizations that has overwhelmed their healthcare systems; currently, patients are being scored to determine who will receive COVID care given the lack of resources. As of July 10, Arizona has nearly 112,800 COVID cases, and there have been almost 2,050 deaths, according to The New York Times. And for more on a potential shutdown, 75 Percent of People in These Hard-Hit States Support a Return to Lockdown.
Like Arizona, Florida has been identified as one of the new epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. Per the Harvard map, the state is now seeing 43 daily new cases for every 100,000 people. The experts at Covid Act Now put Florida in the "critical" category, thanks to a high infection rate of 1.28 and a high positive test rate of 19 percent. Currently, there are more than 232,700 COVID cases in Florida, with over 4,000 deaths—and while these numbers are alarming, they're likely even higher than reported. And for more on the hardest hit states, Half of All New Coronavirus Cases Are Coming From These 4 States.
Georgia just makes it onto Harvard's list of states with high COVID risk, due to its current rate of 26 daily new cases per 100,000 people. As one of the states that ended lockdown early—over two months ago now—Georgia has been closely watched, and it appears the cause for concern was warranted. Covid Act Now notes that the state has an infection rate of 1.24 and a positive test rate of 13.6 percent, which earn it their "high-risk" label. There are now nearly 98,700 coronavirus cases in Georgia, and there have been around 2,880 deaths.
While it appeared as though the situation had improved in Louisiana following its early outbreak, the state's COVID numbers have risen rapidly. The Harvard map now identifies a daily new case rate of 31 per 100,000, the third-highest after Arizona and Florida. Louisiana's infection rate of 1.26, per Covid Act Now, shows that the virus is spreading quickly within the state, where there are currently more than 72,100 COVID cases. The New York Times also reports just under 3,360 deaths. And for more states that could return to lockdown, Dr. Fauci Just Warned That These States Are Increasingly "Vulnerable."
Per the Harvard risk assessment map, South Carolina needs to return to lockdown given its 30 daily new cases per 100,000 people. The state's rapid escalation in COVID cases has earned it a spot on Covid Act Now's "critical" list, along with a high positive test rate of 17.1 percent and a dwindling number of available ICU beds. The most recent reports from South Carolina show almost 50,700 coronavirus cases, with more than 900 deaths. And for more insight into which states should return to lockdown, The "Only Option Is to Shut Down" in States Not Doing This, Doctor Warns.
Texas has fast emerged as another one of the new epicenters of the pandemic in the U.S., and as in Arizona, a recent poll indicates that most residents support a return to lockdown. Based on the state's 26 daily new cases per 100,000 people, researchers at Harvard believe that's the only option. Meanwhile, some state officials are already urging residents to shelter in place because a dramatic increase in hospitalizations has ICU beds in short supply. As of July 10, Texas has cleared 240,000 coronavirus cases, and there have been over 3,000 deaths from COVID. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.