These 6 States Are Seeing the Worst COVID Surges Right Now

The national daily average is also now rising slightly for the first time in weeks.

Over the past few weeks, the steady decline of critical numbers on a national level has provided a sense of cautious optimism among some experts about the next phase of the pandemic. But now, it appears that COVID cases are making a slight rebound, especially in certain states that are seeing surges of the virus once again.

According to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University, the daily average of reported cases in the U.S. reached 72,000 last week, marking a 58 percent decrease since the summer surge's peak of 172,500 average daily cases on Sept. 13, CNBC reports. But the good news also comes as a weeks-long steady decline was snapped by a sudden nine percent rise in the national daily average of new COVID cases over the past seven days, according to The Washington Post.

Over the past week, global experts have pointed to warning signs that the pandemic may be roaring back as cases began to rise again globally for the first time in two months. A four percent increase saw nearly 3 million new cases reported worldwide, with Europe accounting for about 57 percent of the surge. This led one expert to warn of what this could mean for the coming weeks stateside.

"A lot of times, what we see in Europe is sort of the harbinger of what we see in the U.S.," Barbara Taylor, MD, an assistant dean and associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, told CNBC. "And so it concerns me that cases there are on the rise."

Taylor also pointed out that the virus may also not have thrown its final hurdle at us. "The final potential threat or thing that worries us all is the ability of COVID to change and mutate," she warned, adding that the arrival of a new highly contagious variant "could change everything about the pandemic over the next six months."

Read on to see which states have experienced COVID surges of 15 percent or more over the past week as of Nov. 2, according to data from The Washington Post.

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cityscape photo of homes, buildings, and mountains in Phoenix, Arizona
  • New cases in the last seven days: 41 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 17 percent

After a brief decline and plateau, Arizona has struggled with a renewed surge in infections in recent weeks. Over the past 14 days, newly reported cases have seen an 81 percent increase, hospitalizations have jumped four percent, and deaths have skyrocketed 126 percent, according to data from The New York Times.


skyline of denver colorado
  • New cases in the last seven days: 50 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 17 percent

Colorado is still struggling to deal with the effects of an ongoing surge that has plagued the state for months. On Oct. 31, Gov. Jared Polis signed two executive orders to help ease the strain the virus has put on the state's healthcare system, including one which will allow hospitals to refuse patients and redirect them to other facilities, Colorado Public Radio reports.

"I am very concerned that we are going to exceed capacity and what dictates capacity is going to be the number of safely staffed beds," Anuj Mehta, MD, a pulmonologist with National Jewish Health and Denver Health who serves on the Governor's Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee, told Colorado Public Radio. "It's no longer a question of ventilators. It's a question of safely staffed beds. If you typically have one nurse for two ICU beds, and now you're asking that one nurse to care for four ICU patients, that's not safe anymore."

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New Mexico

cityscape photo of Santa Fe, New Mexico at dusk
  • New cases in the last seven days: 45 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 19 percent

After reaching a new peak in September, New Mexico has struggled with plateauing cases at a relatively high rate for weeks. But over the weekend, state health data showed that new daily cases had passed the 1,000 mark once again as new infections began to creep up.

"This is a hard time," Christine Ross, MD, state epidemiologist for New Mexico, said during a press conference on Oct. 27. "We are all struggling. We would like to put this pandemic behind us and in the past, but we're not there yet. We all continue to struggle with this global pandemic, but we're thrilled that we do have effective countermeasures, and certainly, vaccination is our number one countermeasure."

New Hampshire

waterfront town with a harbor and boats at sunset
  • New cases in the last seven days: 46 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 56 percent

Despite struggling with technical issues affecting the state's reporting system, amended data shows New Hampshire has witnessed a rise in COVID numbers in recent weeks. New cases have risen 11 percent in the state over the past 14 days, while hospitalizations have jumped 19 percent during the same period, according to data from The Times.

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Minnesota, downtown Minneapolis
f11photo / Shutterstock
  • New cases in the last seven days: 63 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 65 percent

Minnesota is still struggling with an ongoing surge that has recently seen another spike. On Nov. 1, state health officials reported 2,857 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing the total to 789,800 since the start of the pandemic.

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The skyline of Los Angeles, California at sunset.
  • New cases in the last seven days: 22 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 72 percent

Despite having one of the lowest transmission rates in the U.S. for weeks, California has recently seen an uptick in cases, spiking 54 percent in the past 14 days, according to data from The New York Times. Now, some local officials are warning that the state could become stuck in a dangerously long plateau without the proper precautions.

"As the winter months come up and as all of these holidays come up, more people are going to gather, and more people are going to be indoors," Regina Chinsio-Kwong, MD, an Orange County deputy health officer, told the Los Angeles Times. "So if we don't take precaution until everybody gets some sort of immunity, we are still at risk of continuing to have higher numbers in case rates, similar to the United Kingdom."

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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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