This Is the Only State Where COVID Is Surging Right Now

The rebound from the Omicron surge is bringing down cases everywhere but here.

Less than a month ago, the U.S. hit the peak of a national surge brought on by the Omicron variant bringing case levels to unprecedented new highs coast to coast. But the quick rise in infections has since been met by an almost equally drastic decrease nationwide, with hospitalizations from the virus also following the downward trend. Now, data shows that there's only one state where COVID is still surging despite the national drop. Read on to see which place is still struggling to beat back the virus.

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Mississippi is the only state where COVID cases are still increasing right now.

Lamar Life Building in Jackson, Mississippi in the afternoon

As new infections continue to plummet across the U.S., Mississippi is the only state that's the exception to the national trend. Cases there have increased 23 percent over the past week to a seven-day average of 197 per 100,000 people as of Feb. 8, according to data from The Washington Post. And while hospitalizations in the state have dropped 24 percent to 43 patients per capita over the same period, daily deaths from the virus have also risen 72 percent to an average of 1.7 per 100,000 residents.

COVID-19 cases have dropped to a third of what they were just three weeks ago.

A senior man getting a COVID nasal swab test from a doctor or healthcare worker

While Mississippi is still grappling with the virus, recent figures show that the peak of the latest surge has almost certainly passed for the U.S. overall. As of Feb. 8, the national daily average was 253,782 cases, one-third of the peak of 806,795 reported about three weeks earlier on Jan. 14, according to data from The New York Times. And hospitalizations from the virus—which typically lag behind case counts—have also begun to come down after dropping 27 percent over the past 14 days to a daily average of 115,164 as of Feb. 7.

Certain areas in particular are also already showing major signs of improvement. During an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation on Feb. 6, former Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, pointed out that some states that saw the earliest surges brought on by the Omicron have rebounded to much lower levels of reported infections.

"If you look at places like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, cases are down to about 20 to 30 cases per 100,000 people per day, which is a low level. That's about where we were before the Delta surge," he said. While adding that the city of Boston had also seen a significant decline in cases, he suggested that "if you look at some of the leading indicators [they] have come way down and I think that they're through the worst of this particular wave of infection."

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Overall, cases and hospitalizations remain high, and deaths are still rising, however.

A patient suffering from COVID-19 is cared for by a team of doctors and nurses in the ICU who are all wearing protective gear.

But even as new cases continue to come down drastically, some experts warn that it's not all good news just yet. Despite being an improvement, the current national daily infection average is still at an exceedingly high level above the peaks seen during any previous nationwide surge of the virus, CNN reports. And while the number of patients has also dropped, the national hospitalization average still remains higher than it was at any other point during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the full effects of the Omicron surge are still being felt in terms of lives lost. The daily death average from COVID-19 is still increasing in the U.S., rising 25 percent over the past two weeks to 2,598 as of Feb. 7, according to The Times.

Experts still caution that the fight against COVID is still going to be a "long struggle."

A young woman wearing a face mask while riding a public bus

Despite the high numbers, some experts have said the pandemic may be about to enter a new phase that could see some level of normalcy brought back. In a series of tweets on Jan. 31, Ashish Jha, MD, dean of Brown's School of Public Health, used the analogy of a rainstorm to describe how society could handle the virus from now on.

"With infections still high (hard rain), I wouldn't end public health measures today," Jha wrote. "But soon, as cases, hospitalizations get low (drizzle), lifting restrictions [is] reasonable. To be clear: the pandemic won't be over, but as we prepare for future risks, we can enjoy the present."

Still, others exercised caution in their outlook on the near future. During his interview, Gottlieb conceded that while things were heading in the right direction, it was still too soon to declare victory over COVID-19 just yet. "We're not close to the end right now, depending on how you measure that. I think that this is going to be a long struggle," he warned. "This is a virus that's going to be persistent. We're going to have to continue to take measures to protect vulnerable people."

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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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