These 2 States' COVID Outbreaks Need "Urgent Attention," White House Says
According to a leaked document, these "red zone" states are facing serious trouble.
As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, there are several uncontrolled COVID outbreaks wreaking havoc across the U.S. Some hard-hit states have reversed their reopenings, while others are moving forward despite the rising numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Recently, a leaked document prepared by the White House Coronavirus Task Force revealed which states need immediate interventions, including two with COVID outbreaks that necessitate "urgent attention."
The July 14 document, which had not been released to the public, was published by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom in Washington, D.C. The report "includes county-level data and reflects the insistence of the Trump administration that states and counties should take the lead in responding to the coronavirus," they report. While the document covers all U.S. states, these are the two the White House believes need "urgent attention," based on the spread of coronavirus within their borders. And for more from the report, these are The 8 Things You Need to Do If You Live in a "Red Zone," White House Says.
Based on the number of new cases and its positive test rate, Louisiana is in the "red zone," according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force document. "The number of red zone parishes and metro areas have significantly increased since last week," the report says. "Urgent attention to these areas with specific interventions is critical." The recommendations include mandated masks in hotspots and closing bars in these areas.
The experts at Covid Act Now also put Louisiana at a "critical" risk level for its COVID outbreak, with a high infection rate (the number of people the average sick person will infect) of 1.21 and a high positive test rate of 10.3 percent. There are only enough contact tracers to track 3 percent of new cases in 48 hours. As of July 20, The New York Times reports over 91,815 total COVID cases in Louisiana, with more than 3,540 deaths. And for more on infection rates nationwide, Here's How Quickly Coronavirus Is Spreading in Every State.
According to the leaked White House document, Oklahoma is another "red zone" state that needs "urgent attention." When it comes to particular areas of concern, the report says, "Tulsa and Oklahoma City have significantly increased burden since last week. Urgent attention to these areas with specific interventions is critical." The recommendations are the same for those in Louisiana hotspots, including reduced indoor dining, increased testing, and enhanced contact tracing.
Oklahoma is in slightly better shape than Louisiana, per Covid Act Now, with a similar infection rate (1.20) but a lower positive test rate of 8.9 percent. The state has a similar number of ICU beds, but more contact tracers than Louisiana—though still not enough. That data makes Oklahoma a "high-risk" state, according to Covid Act Now. There are currently around 25,265 coronavirus cases in the state, with just over 450 deaths. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.