This State Is Seeing Its Worst COVID Spike Since the Pandemic Began

Data shows that North Dakota's daily COVID cases per capita have jumped, making it the worst in the U.S.

While August has seen a turnaround for many former coronavirus hotspots across the U.S., there are still some places that are defying the new national norm. Top medical experts and advisors have been saying the next few months could see COVID surge in the Midwest. But according to USA Today, recent data indicates that one state in particular is already seeing its worst COVID spike since the pandemic began: North Dakota.

Figures from Aug. 27 show that after a record-setting week, North Dakota's per capita new COVID case count is the highest of any state in the nation. The data shows that North Dakota is currently seeing an average of 214 new cases per day, which represents a 64 percent increase from just two weeks ago, The New York Times reports.

north dakota state welcome sign, iconic state photos

The jump in cases also comes just days after local health officials determined that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which was held in South Dakota from Aug. 7 through Aug. 16, had been the source of more than 100 coronavirus cases in eight states—including North Dakota.

The state's spike in cases led Gov. Doug Burgum to announce on Aug. 26 that he was considering elevating the COVID-19 risk level in several counties from "low" to "moderate," which would reduce capacity in restaurants and bars.

"Be North Dakota Smart: that's our path forward, that's the path to freedom right now, to keeping everything open, the schools open," Burgum said during a press conference. "Everybody being smart about not allowing yourself or others to be in a [bad] position. This virus can only live when it jumps from human to human host."

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Recent figures paint a stark contrast between North Dakota and almost every other state. The Harvard Global Health Institute's (HGHI) COVID Risk Level map, which ranks states based on new cases per capita, currently has North Dakota ranked as the highest at 28.1 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents per day—that puts it in the highest category, red, along with Mississippi at No. 2. At that rate, North Dakota could need more serious restrictions. "Once a community reaches the red risk level, stay-at-home orders become necessary again," the HGHI says. And for more states that are suffering, check out The 4 States With the Biggest COVID Spikes Are Not Where You'd Expect.

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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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