This State Now Has the Absolute Worst COVID Outbreak in the Country

One health official says it's going to get even worse in three to four weeks.

As America continues to play a grim game of coronavirus "hot potato," a new state is now stuck with the absolute worst COVID outbreak in the country. That state is Mississippi.

According to a Harvard Global Health Initiative COVID-19 tracker, Mississippi is the only state currently considered to be a "Red Zone," where new daily cases surpass 25 per 100,000 residents. While other states including Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California are currently seeing higher total case counts, this is due to their much larger populations. Infection rates in Mississippi are higher per capita, compared with these other superspreader states.

As of Sunday afternoon, Mississippi had reached a total of 77,894 cases and 2,240 deaths, according to a New York Times database. And while cases have decreased over the past two weeks, Mississippi health officials have warned the public that a new surge is likely on its way.

Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH, the state health officer for the Mississippi State Department of Health, said this week that he expects an even more severe surge in three to four weeks time due to "schools, colleges, and really, really bad judgement coming together in a triumvirate of disaster." This could be particularly dangerous in counties with the highest rates of infection, given that some Mississippi hotspot areas have topped 100 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

In particular, Dobbs reportedly called out individuals that continue to ignore social distancing rules. "A lot of the outbreaks we're seeing at the high schools is because the parents are hosting parties. Senior parties, groups, spend-the-night parties. I don't know why this doesn't scare people, but it's illegal!" he said.

Regarding the even greater surge he expects is just around the corner, Dobbs issued this warning: "Y'all just get ready."  And for more on coronavirus hotspots, check out This Beloved Tourist Destination Has Become a COVID Superspreader.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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