These 7 States Are Seeing the Worst COVID Surges Right Now

The Delta variant is driving up cases in these places as it continues to spread.

Nationally, it appears that progress is still being made against the pandemic as the summer surge continues to recede. But as some experts predicted may happen, the Delta variant has shown that it's not yet finished spreading to new areas as some states continue to struggle with COVID surges.

The national case average in the U.S. continued to plummet to its lowest levels since early August over the past week, dropping 16 percent in the last seven days to 88,552 as of Oct. 11, according to data from The Washington Post. But experts cautioned that the virus still posed a serious threat in the face of disappearing safety measures and upcoming gatherings during the holiday season, especially for those who had yet to receive vaccines or necessary booster shots.

"A lot of it depends on human behavior, and human behavior in this pandemic hasn't served us very well," Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a call with reporters on Oct. 6. "We are battling with ourselves, not with the common foe."

During an Oct. 10 interview on CNN's State of the Union, Anthony Fauci, MD, the White House's chief medical adviser, took a moment to appreciate the progress recently made against the pandemic. "We do want to celebrate and look forward to the fact that we are going in the right direction," he told host Dana Bash, noting that the seven-day average of new COVID cases is below 100,000, hospitalizations are below 10,000, and deaths are below 2,000 for the first time in months. "That's the good news. And, hopefully, it's going to continue to go in that trajectory, downward," Fauci said. But, he cautioned COVID-19 may not be done with us yet.

"We have to just be careful that we don't prematurely declare victory in many respects. We still have around 68 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated that have not yet gotten vaccinated," he warned. "If you look at the history of the surges and the diminutions in cases over a period of time, they can bounce back."

Read on to see which states have experienced COVID surges of greater than five percent over the past week as of Oct. 12, according to data from The Washington Post.

RELATED: If You Notice This, You May Have Been Exposed to COVID, Virus Experts Say.

New York

cityscape photo of buildings and the skyline in New York City, New York
  • New cases in the last seven days: 24 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 6 percent

A plateauing of cases across New York has bumped up over the past week, with a six percent increase in new cases per capita in the last seven days. The slight jump could affect the progress made in bringing down hospitalizations and deaths, which have dropped by seven percent and 13 percent over the past 14 days as of Oct. 12, respectively, according to data from The New York Times.


city skyline of buildings in downtown Detroit, Michigan at twilight
  • New cases in the last seven days: 42 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 6 percent

According to an update from state health officials on Oct. 11, the 7-day case average for Michigan climbed to 3,603, marking the highest it's been since early May. The new data also marked the 13th straight week that numbers have been rising in the state.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Gave This Warning About the Next COVID Surge.

New Mexico

cityscape photo of Santa Fe, New Mexico at dusk
  • New cases in the last seven days: 35 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 7 percent

The most recent surge of COVID cases in New Mexico comes as hospitalizations have plateaued at a relatively high rate. Local health officials are concerned that any added pressure on the overcrowded hospitals across the state could take a serious toll on the healthcare system.

"The fact that this is going on at this level has become incredibly stressful," David Scrase, MD, acting health secretary for New Mexico, told the Santa Fe Reporter. "Our hospital personnel are incredibly exhausted, discouraged, and frustrated, frankly, that they are now managing a pandemic and working extra shifts and endangering their own health for what has become a preventable illness."


photo take by a drone of the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Montana
  • New cases in the last seven days: 89 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 8 percent

An ongoing COVID surge has pushed cases even higher in Montana, with health officials reporting 12,539 active cases across the state on Oct. 8. This figure is more than two and a half times higher than the same date a year ago when there were 4,851 active cases, The Billings Gazette reports. The state has also seen hospitalizations increase by nine percent in the past two weeks, according to data from The Times as of Oct. 12.

RELATED: If You Notice This at a Restaurant, Don't Eat There, Virus Experts Warn.


  • New cases in the last seven days: 52 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 12 percent

Minnesota is still struggling with an ongoing COVID surge, where cases have risen 29 percent over the past two weeks, hospitalizations have increased 17 percent, and deaths have spiked 32 percent, according to data from The Times as of Oct. 12. Healthcare systems also remain strained, with the state seeing the highest number of active patients since December 2020.

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skyline of denver colorado
  • New cases in the last seven days: 39 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 19 percent

The latest health data from Colorado shows that the summer surge has not yet ended in the state. But while a spike in new cases already has local officials concerned, a new wave of hospitalizations has others worried that a recent downward trend may be cut short. "Now we're still stuck on that high plateau, and it looks like things are trending upwards," Beth Carlton, PhD, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the Colorado School of Public Health, told The Denver Post.

RELATED: A Virus Expert Says She Still Wouldn't Go Here—Even With a Booster.


Church Street in Burlington, Vermont at night.
  • New cases in the last seven days: 34 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 25 percent

COVID surges recently reported across New England are still being felt in states like Vermont. Local health officials said on Oct. 11 that 222 new cases had been reported, making it the fifth day in a row that more than 200 infections were added to the state's total. As a result, Gov. Phil Scott urged residents to make sure they were up on their shots, whether it was their first or any necessary additional doses.

"We know vaccines are safe and effective, and these additional doses add even more protection. So, I encourage anyone who is eligible to register for your booster today," Scott said. "At the same time, we continue to urge those who have not yet gotten their first dose to get vaccinated. The data shows we are now in a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, friends, and family, and to make sure we continue moving forward from 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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