This State Is in a "Very Bad Situation" and No One Is Talking About It

Death rates have quadrupled and hospitalizations are nearly eight times higher than they were a month ago.

In recent weeks, coronavirus outbreaks in states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California have received a lot of attention for their record-breaking numbers. But some medical experts are raising the alarm on other parts of the U.S. where the virus is spreading at an astonishing rate, despite making fewer headlines. In a recent tweet, Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) Director Ashish Jha, MD, pointed out that "one small state is experiencing a very bad situation [that] has gotten very little attention: Idaho."

According to data out of the Gem State, all metrics of the disease are beginning to look dire. "Their case numbers are up 1,366 percent since June 15," Jha tweeted.

But those aren't the only figures to skyrocket in Idaho in the past month: The state's positive test rate, which was 3.4 percent just over 30 days ago, is now five times higher, jumping to 18.3 percent; hospitalizations are up 780 percent since June 15 (from 24 to 188); and the death rate has quadrupled from one death every other day to 2.5 deaths daily now.

map of idaho showing covid outbreak

Jha also stressed that focusing solely on controlling outbreaks in large population hubs could spell a larger disaster for many smaller communities. There are "very concerning rises in rural America, which has far less hospital capacity," he tweeted. The doctor argued that getting situations in states like Idaho under control is vital to the U.S. truly beating the disease. "For a while, some folks argued COVID was a disease of dense areas (i.e. cities)," he wrote. "Turns out, it's a disease of humanity."

He concluded: "We have to help states like ID get this under control."

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The situation in Idaho wasn't always as bleak as it now is. As one of the few states that reported a successful decline of initial cases, businesses were reopened relatively early in June. But then, the state quickly witnessed a spike in outbreaks tied to crowded bars and supermarkets, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Now, local officials are at odds with medical experts, who share Jha's fears that hospitals in Idaho will soon be overrun if numbers aren't brought back under control. "Our modeling shows week after week increases," Chris Roth, CEO of St. Luke's Medical System in Idaho, told the AP in early July. "There's nothing that we've been able to determine is going to change the trajectory at this point, given the collective behaviors of the community." And for more states to worry about, check out 11 States Where Locking Down Again Is Absolutely Necessary.


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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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