This State That Aggressively Cracked Down on COVID Is Now Seeing a Surge
Restrictions here are the strictest in the U.S., but there's now a spike in new cases.
The number of new COVID cases is up across the country, with certain hard-hit states having a harder time containing their outbreaks than others. But as the coronavirus pandemic continues, no state has been completely spared. Even some places that were once considered coronavirus containment success stories are now seeing a spike in numbers. Hawaii was, at one point, notable for its relatively small number of cases, which experts credited to the state's strict coronavirus policies. Now, however, Hawaii is experiencing a surge in new COVID cases.
For the week ending in July 26, Hawaii saw the biggest percentage increase in new cases of any U.S. state, according to Reuters. The state's additional 302 cases represented an 88 percent rise from the week before. That follows Hawaii breaking its record for daily new cases for the third day in a row on July 25, as Hawaii News Now reported, with 73 new infections. These numbers might sound low, but given Hawaii's minimal cases throughout the pandemic, they represent a significant spike.
Hawaii has been singled out for its aggressive policies to control the spread of the virus. A ranking of states by the strictness of their coronavirus measures put Hawaii in the top spot for "prevention and containment." As The Guardian reports, "People who break quarantine are subject to arrest and a fine of up to $5,000. Hawaii has been strict in enforcing the rules, arresting nearly 200 people, visitors and residents, since March."
So, what went wrong? Speaking to Hawaii News Now, Hawaii State Health Director Bruce Anderson attributed the sharp rise in new cases to a failure of social distancing, particularly over the Fourth of July holiday. "We're beginning to see more cases among younger to middle-age adults; many who relay stories of attending gatherings, parties, events, or socializing at bars," he said.
Currently, the experts at Covid Act Now put Hawaii in the "orange" category, making it a high-risk state. The state still has a moderate rate of daily new cases, 3.2 cases per 100,000 people, which means "COVID not contained, but at low levels." Hawaii's high infection rate of 1.21, however, suggests that "active cases are rapidly increasing."
As of July 28, there have been just under 1,690 coronavirus cases in Hawaii, along with 25 deaths. Those numbers are significantly better than those in less populous states like New Hampshire (6,440 cases) or Rhode Island (18,725 cases). Still, Hawaii's surge is a reminder that the COVID crisis is constantly evolving, and no state can afford to let its guard down. And for more states to keep an eye on, Dr. Fauci Is Most Worried About These 4 States.