The 5 States Where COVID Is Now Spreading Fastest

The infection rates in these states mean the coronavirus is starting to take over.

While some have been quick to celebrate the country's successes in the fight against coronavirus, one thing is still clear: The pandemic is far from over in the U.S. With new cases rising in some states, it appears that things may be headed in the wrong direction in certain areas. Now, as fall approaches and with flu season around the corner, states that avoided earlier surges are beginning to see COVID spread fast.

The infection rate is one of the metrics that medical experts use to gauge COVID outbreaks, measuring how many other people someone with the virus will pass it along to on average. If the number is less than one, it means things are slowing down; if it's above one, the virus is spreading. As of Sept. 16, these are the five states where the infection rate is currently the highest, based on data collected by Covid Act Now. And if you're wondering how COVID sticks with patients, here are The 98 Longest Lasting COVID Symptoms You Need to Know About.


Panoramic aerial view of Jackson Hole homes and beautiful mountains on a summer morning, Wyoming.

Wyoming may have a growing problem on its hands. Besides currently having an infection rate of 1.11, the state is also seeing a 44 percent spike in new cases to an average of 48 per day, according to The New York Times. As a result, Gov. Mark Gordon extended the state's health orders through the end of the month, which caps indoor gatherings at 50 people and requires students and teachers to wear face masks while in school. And for more on places you're likely to catch coronavirus, check out 40 Percent of COVID Patients Went Here Before Getting Sick, CDC Says.


hartford connecticut skyline

After being able to keep numbers in check for most of the summer, Connecticut saw its infection rate jump above 1 last week for the first time in months. Unfortunately, data shows it hasn't improved, still posting an infection rate of 1.15. That puts the state at Covid Act Now's "orange" level, which means Connecticut is at risk of an outbreak. But local officials aren't taking the news lying down: On Sept. 15, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the state would be administering fines to anyone caught violating the state's mask mandate or social distancing rules in public.

New Hampshire

Manchester is the largest city in the state of New Hampshire and the largest city in northern New England. Manchester is known for its industrial heritage, riverside mills, affordability, and arts & cultural destination.

After weeks of smooth sailing, the road ahead looks a little rocky for the Granite State. Besides an infection rate of 1.16, New Hampshire has also seen a 73 percent increase in the average of daily new cases since two weeks ago. The jump comes after schools and colleges reopened in the state.

Local health officials say a single fraternity party at the University of New Hampshire that was attended by more than 100 people is the source of a major case cluster in the state. Unfortunately, the trend seems to be continuing: A second cluster has been reported at one of the school's largest residential complexes. And for more COVID news, sign up for our daily newsletter.


Saturated early morning light hits the buildings and architecture of downtown Wilmington Delaware

With a current infection rate of 1.16, it's no wonder Delaware is experiencing a jump in COVID cases. The state is witnessing its positive test rate hit its highest level since mid-July at 8.1 percent.

"We really need to do a better job," Gov. John Carney said at a Sept. 15 press briefing. "It's a lot of folks that are in our colleges and universities that need to be more attentive to following the rules and protecting one another, frankly."


milwaukee wisconsin skyline

With an infection rate of 1.19, there may be dark days ahead for Wisconsin. Unfortunately, this figure is combined with a new daily case rate of about 23 per 100,000 people—which has been rising since the start of September—and a positive test rate of 14.6 percent. And it gets worse: A New York Times report found that of the 20 metro areas in the U.S. experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreaks, eight were located in Wisconsin. Local health experts hope that the state's university system, which has been linked to many of the cases that have spread into local communities, can help get numbers under control on their campuses. And if you're concerned you could have COVID, check out These Are the 51 Most Common COVID Symptoms You Could Have.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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