Not a Single U.S. State Is "On Track to Contain COVID," Researchers Say

Even the states that seemed to have controlled their outbreaks are seeing a rise in COVID numbers.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit states across the country, it's become more challenging to keep track of the states with the worst COVID outbreaks. At this point, new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are rising nationwide, and while the numbers are certainly more alarming in some states than others, there doesn't seem to be any state that's been completely spared. Now, the team at Covid Act Now—health professionals, epidemiologists, and other experts—have updated their COVID risk map to confirm the dire state of affairs: Not a single U.S. state is currently "on track to contain COVID."

As of July 22, the Covid Act Now map does not have any states that are green, which stands for "on track to contain COVID." The majority of states are colored orange for "at risk," while the rest are split evenly between yellow ("controlled disease growth") and red ("critical").

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Covid Act Now used to determine risk based on four criteria: infection rate (the number of people the average sick person will infect), positive test rate, ICU availability, and number of contact tracers. They have now added a fifth indicator, daily new cases. In the case of Connecticut, the most recent state to be green, that was enough to move it into the category of "controlled disease growth." While Connecticut is in the green when it comes to almost every indicator, the state gets a yellow badge for 2.2 daily new cases per 100,000 people, meaning "COVID not contained, but at low levels."

Unfortunately, the researchers at Covid Act Now are not the only ones to come to the conclusion that no remaining states have achieved containment. Harvard Global Health Institute's color-coded map, in which risk is assessed based on daily new cases, does not have any green states either.

hartford connecticut skyline

So, what about the states that have been heralded as coronavirus success stories? Anthony Fauci, MD, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), recently said that New York "did it correctly" in containing COVID. It's true that the former epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. is in a much better position than it once was, but as Covid Act Now's data shows, New York is still experiencing "controlled disease growth" based on an infection rate of 1.02 and 3.7 daily new cases per 100,000 people.

These maps show that there are multiple metrics to consider when it comes to whether or not a state has controlled their outbreak. The New York Times reports that Arizona, Delaware, and Maine are all seeing declining cases, for example, but these states are at varying levels of risk. Arizona, in fact, is currently "critical," according to Covid Act Now, thanks to a high rate of daily new cases (42 per 100,000), high positive test rate (23.4 percent), and severely limited number of ICU beds.

Rest assured that the current situation, while distressing, does not mean all hope is lost. The many yellow states on the color-coded maps could turn green with the right efforts to slow the spread of the virus—including the oft-mentioned combination of social distancing and wearing masks. In the meantime, however, these maps are a sobering reminder that the COVID pandemic is far from over. And for states in need of immediate intervention, check out these 11 States Where Locking Down Again Is Absolutely Necessary.

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