These Are the Only 5 States Where COVID Is Still Surging
Certain areas are still seeing their case counts rise as national numbers begin to drop.
The unprecedented national surge brought on by the Omicron variant appears to be receding almost as quickly as it began. After hitting its peak of 807,897 on Jan. 14, the national daily case average has dropped steadily, down 35 percent over the past week to finish January at 469,084, according to data from The Washington Post. But while there has been significant recovery made from coast to coast, certain states still saw their COVID numbers surge despite the national trend.
The latest figures also come just as scientists are beginning to track a "stealth" subvariant of Omicron known as BA.2, which some fear could be even more transmissible than the already highly contagious variant. But during an interview with CBS' Face the Nation on Jan. 30, former Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, explained that data so far didn't indicate the viral offshoot would have a significant effect.
"If you had Omicron infection, you should have protection against subsequent infection from this new variant. That's why I don't think this is going to create a huge wave of infection," he explained. "What's likely to happen is as we were coming down, and coming down quite sharply…you might see as this new strain starts to pick up, you might see that we start to slow down in that decline, but the decline will happen nonetheless."
Still, one top official cautioned that it was too soon to claim total victory. "I certainly share the optimism that we're in a better place now, and we will be in a better place in a few weeks, but I don't think that means that we should take our foot off the accelerator," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Jan. 27.
"What gives me more optimism and hope, Jake, is the fact that we not only have abundantly available vaccines—we not only see that they're working well to protect people against hospitalization and death—but we have more therapeutics," Murthy added. "These together, along with a targeted use of tests and masks, this is what I believe is going to help us get through future waves, as well."
Read on to see the only states to have experienced COVID surges over the past week as of Feb. 1, according to data from The Washington Post.
- New cases in the last seven days: 234 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 1 percent
Minnesota's slight rise in cases comes just a week after data scientists at the Mayo Clinic said the state had likely passed the peak of the Omicron surge, local Minneapolis CBS affiliate WCCO reported. The seven-day positivity rate average has also dropped over the past week from 23.7 percent to 22.3 percent as of Jan. 31. But hospitalizations dropped only slightly, with the Minnesota Department of Health reporting that 92.9 percent of adult non-ICU hospital beds are in use and 94.3 percent of adult ICU beds are occupied statewide.
- New cases in the last seven days: 331 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 6 percent
While reports on the positive test rate in the state have been delayed since Jan. 20 due to a backlog created by an overwhelming amount of data, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported 25,803 new COVID-19 cases from over the weekend on Jan. 31. Average hospitalizations in South Carolina have also increased by 15 percent over the past two weeks to 2,576, according to data from The New York Times.
- New cases in the last seven days: 157 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 14 percent
On Jan. 31, Idaho Gov. Brad Little activated the state's National Guard to help manage the strain put on the local healthcare system by heavy caseloads and widespread staff shortages. Idaho has also seen the daily average hospitalization rate increase 43 percent over the past two weeks to 594, while deaths have increased 143 percent to 13, according to The Times.
- New cases in the last seven days: 78 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 21 percent
Health officials in Maine reported that hospitalizations in the state had increased by 30 over the weekend to 382—including 92 patients total in ICU beds—breaking more than a week-long downward trend in new patients. The state's positive test rate is 15.5 percent, according to COVID Act Now.
- New cases in the last seven days: 268 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 29 percent
Washington saw the most significant COVID surge of any state last week. While data on the positive test rate is unavailable, the daily hospitalization average has risen one percent over the past 14 days to 2,340, and daily deaths have risen 30 percent to 41, according to data from The Times.