These 8 States Are Seeing the Worst COVID Surges Right Now

All 50 states reported a significant increase in new cases last week.

Over a week after Thanksgiving, COVID-19 cases are still driving up from coast to coast. Data shows the ongoing surge is sending the U.S. towards a total number of 50 million cases since the beginning of the pandemic. And while all 50 states reported an increase in their daily case averages over last week, some are seeing even worse COVID surges than others.

Regardless of a reporting anomaly caused by the holiday, the national daily seven-day COVID case average continued a month-long rise with an increase of 50 percent over the past week, as of Dec. 7, according to data from The Washington Post. Over the weekend, the U.S. jumped above a daily average of 120,000 for the first time in two months. And while the arrival of the Omicron variant in the U.S. has attracted attention from officials over fears it may be more transmissible than Delta, Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says it is the currently dominant strain that is responsible for the ongoing surge.

"We know what we need to do against Delta, and that is get vaccinated, get boosted if you're eligible, and continue all of those prevention measures, including masking. And those are very likely to work against the Omicron variant," she told CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD, during a Dec. 3 interview.

Another expert pointed out that the rise in cases could be expected after weeks of warnings from officials leading into Thanksgiving. "Think about it: Somebody gets exposed and infected on Thursday or Friday of last week. Then it takes two or three days for incubation," Michael Saag, MD, an associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told NBC News.

Unfortunately, similar to last year, this continuing trend could possibly get worse in the coming weeks. "We have Christmas and New Year's coming up," Saag warned. "Wash, rinse, repeat."

Read on to see which states have experienced COVID surges of more than 75 percent over the past week as of Dec. 7, according to data from The Washington Post.

RELATED: These Are the Symptoms of the Omicron Variant, South African Doctor Says.

8
Kansas

buildings and the Cooper dome in the downtown area of Topeka, Kansas
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 61 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 77 percent

Kansas is struggling with rising cases as its statewide positive test rate reaches 13.2 percent, according to COVID Act Now. Some health officials are concerned that the state's modest vaccination rate of 66.8 percent of the eligible population having received at least one dose could send cases even higher.

"It's not where we'd like to see it," Bob Moser, MD, dean of the Salina campus of the Kansas University School of Medicine and a former secretary for the state's department of health, told The Topeka Capital-Journal. "It seems like we get a little bit of an uptake when we see a bump in, unfortunately, the number of local deaths. That seems to draw a little bit more attention that it isn't going away."

7
Missouri

The skyline of Kansas City, Missouri at sunset.
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 45 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 77 percent

Recent health data shows COVID cases are spiking in Missouri, with a positive test rate of  11.9 percent. It's also one of the 18 states to have reported a case of the Omicron variant so far after officials announced on Dec. 3 that a St. Louis resident had tested positive.

"Although there is much we still need to learn about this new variant, we do know the best tool currently available to protect ourselves from COVID-19 is personal prevention," Donald Kauerauf, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said in a statement. "I urge Missourians to seek information on the Omicron variant from DHSS and trusted medical sources opposed to social media. We also encourage Missourians to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and staying informed this holiday season as this new variant is investigated further."

RELATED: 60 Percent of Virus Experts Wouldn't Do These 6 Things Right Now, Data Shows.

6
Tennessee

The skyline of Nashville, Tennessee
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 28 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 79 percent

Some health experts are concerned that the recent surge of COVID cases in Tennessee could follow last year's trajectory and worsen as the holiday season continues. "Tennessee has large communities, and consequently extended families, where there is very little, if any, vaccination," William Schaffner, MD, a virus expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told The Tennessean. "Those are the environments that gives this Delta virus—as highly contagious as it is—an opportunity to keep finding people who are unprotected or whose protection is waning."

5
Massachusetts

Massachusetts
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 66 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 81 percent

Cases in Massachusetts are still on the rise, with a five percent positive test rate and the highest vaccination rate of any state. But health officials are also concerned the spike may soon become worse due to increased levels of the virus detected in wastewater treatment plants.

"The wastewater is predictive, and when it's going up like this, you expect a significant surge in cases," Todd Ellerin, MD, director of infectious diseases at South Shore Health, told The Boston Herald. "Then in the weeks to follow, you see an increase in hospitalizations and an increase in deaths."

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says He Would Take This COVID Precaution "In a Second".

4
Nevada

the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada in the afternoon
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 28 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 82 percent

Data shows that Nevada's most recent wave of cases has seen the statewide positive rate hit 7.4 percent. However, according to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, an increase in at-home testing means the rate is likely lower than the actual number.

"Everything with COVID is in flux. I mean, the new Omicron variant coming through is making it more difficult," Sisolak told local Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS on Dec. 6. "Cases are still running a little higher than we'd like. We're lower than the national average, which is good, and I appreciate everybody complying as best they possibly can."

3
Oklahoma

tulsa oklahoma
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 31 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 83 percent

On Dec. 6, Oklahoma reported 4,338 new COVID-19 cases from over the weekend, bringing the statewide total to 674,758 since the beginning of the pandemic. State officials also said there were 10,742 total active cases and that the three-day hospitalization average was 522.

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2
South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 20 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 83 percent

As of Dec. 7, South Carolina has a positive test rate of 5.3 percent and 425 hospitalizations from COVID-19. State health data shows that 50.5 percent of eligible residents aged five or older have been fully vaccinated.

1
South Dakota

The main street of Deadwood, South Dakota lined with shops and a passing vehicle.
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 63 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 88 percent

On Dec. 6, state health officials reported that the active case count in South Dakota had risen over the weekend from 7,572 on Friday to 7,682. The state's total case count now stands at 168,763, with 246 current hospitalizations and a positive test rate of 15.2 percent.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Laid Out the Worst Case Scenario for the End of the Pandemic.

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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