Half of New COVID Cases Are in These 5 States
Some experts say these states should be receiving more vaccine doses to combat climbing cases.
While it might feel like the end of the COVID pandemic is within reach as millions of Americans get vaccinated every day, several states continue to see climbing cases. On April 6, the Associated Press (AP) reported that 44 percent of new COVID cases in the U.S. are coming from just five states. And it's not just a matter of density: The states that are responsible for almost half of new COVID cases account for only 22 percent of the U.S. population.
Elsewhere, much of the country is successfully lowering caseloads. According to the AP, as of April 6, 31 states were reporting seven-day averages of fewer than 1,000 new daily cases. The AP noted that the contrast in cases across states has caused experts and officials to reconsider vaccine allotment to better reflect the reality of current COVID surges.
Elvin H. Geng, MD, a professor in infectious diseases at Washington University, told the AP that while increasing vaccine allotments to states with higher COVID cases may make sense, it's a complicated issue. "You wouldn't want to make those folks wait because they were doing better," Geng said, referring to residents of states with lower case numbers. "On the other hand, it only makes sense to send vaccines to where the cases are rising."
Keep reading to find to which five states are reporting almost half of all new COVID cases, and for more on the future of the pandemic, This Is How Long the Moderna Vaccine Really Protects You, New Study Says.
According to data from The New York Times, New York's most recent seven-day average of COVID cases was 7,579, the highest in the country. Officials in the state said that vaccination appointments are challenging to secure in New York City, where the bulk of cases are being reported. While Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to ask for a larger vaccine allotment for the city, he maintains that things have improved. "We still need supply, supply, supply," de Blasio said to reporters on April 6, per the AP. "But things are really getting better." And for vaccine guidance you need to know, This Common Medication Can Make Your Vaccine Less Effective, Study Says.
Michigan reported a seven-day average of 6,689 COVID cases, according to The New York Times. This number is more than double what the state was reporting just two weeks prior. The AP pointed out that states with vastly larger populations, such as California and Texas, are reporting less than half of the number of daily infections that Michigan is reporting.
Experts say the surge in Michigan is likely a result of new variants of the virus spreading through the state. Matthew Sims, MD, Director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont, Royal Oak, told ABC News affiliate WXYZ that 40 percent of the COVID patients at his hospital have the U.K. variant. He added that the re-opening of much of the state could also be contributing to the widespread infections. "What happens is, when you open the state, well you're opening the door wider. Right? So you're potentially letting more virus pass through," Sims said. "Now you take a variant that's more contagious, and that's like then running through the door." And for more on mitigation measures, Moderna CEO Says This Is How Often You'll Need A COVID Vaccine.
Florida has seen more than a 20 percent increase in COVID cases over the last two weeks, with a seven-day average of 5,489. University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi, PhD, told the AP that the spike in Florida's COVID cases is likely due to relaxed restrictions during spring break over the past few weeks. The loosened safeguards likely helped to spread the variants, he added.
The dynamics seem to be shifting in Florida. Click Orlando reported that in Orange County, people 45 and younger now account for one in three hospitalizations for COVID. Additionally, the average age for infections has dropped to 30 in the county. And for more COVID news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
As Pennsylvania tries to pick up the pace of vaccination, cases continue to rise. The state most recently reported a seven-day average of 4,220 COVID cases. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that almost half of new cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are a result of infection from the U.K. strain. However, Michael LeVasseur, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Drexel University, told the newspaper that the rise in cases is most likely due to people relaxing precautions before the majority of the public is fully vaccinated. And for more on staying safe, Dr. Fauci Just Said to Avoid This One Place, Even If You're Vaccinated.
New Jersey, which is also seeing a large number of cases of the U.K. strain of COVID, most recently reported a seven-day average of 4,085 COVID cases. According to NBC News, the state has seen an almost 13 percent increase in cases over the past two weeks. Although cases are on the rise, Governor Phil Murphy told NBC that residents shouldn't expect additional restrictions to come into play. And for more on the spread of COVID strains, This One Vaccine May Protect You Against All Variants, New Study Says.