These States Could Be the Next to See a COVID Surge

Based on a rise in positive test rates, these states should prepare for a coronavirus spike.

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One of the most challenging aspects of the coronavirus pandemic has been figuring out which states will be hit hardest next. Despite some positive changes nationwide—and the fact that certain epicenters have been able to contain their outbreaks—there are still worrying trends in areas across the country. Knowing where the next coronavirus spike will happen could help state officials better prepare for a crisis. With that in mind, an increase in positive test rates suggests that these 32 states should be on high alert for a COVID surge.

On Aug. 17, CNN reported that coronavirus positivity rates are on the rise in the U.S., despite fewer tests being conducted overall. That's concerning, because an increase in a state's positive test rate is a major warning sign that a COVID surge is coming, according to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). "Prior to the surging, you could detect an early increase in the percent positive for any given state," he said in an Aug. 3 interview with Howard Bauchner, MD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "It's a good predictor of a surge."

As of Aug. 18, the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center lists 32 states that have seen a weekly increase in their positive test rates. (They include Washington as well, but because the state has not provided any positive test data to compare, we're leaving it off our list.) Many of these states are already experiencing virulent outbreaks, but the rise in testing positivity is a worrying sign that things could soon get worse. Ranking from the lowest to highest current COVID positivity rate, here are 32 states that should be prepared for a surge. And for a state that's already in trouble, This State Is Now Experiencing the Worst COVID Surge in the U.S.

32
Oregon

downtown portland oregon
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Positive test rate: 4.8 percent

And for states in danger of undercounting cases, These 2 States Are "Missing a Lot of Cases," Harvard Doctor Warns.

31
Pennsylvania

downtown philadelphia
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Positive test rate: 5.0 percent

30
Louisiana

new orleans louisiana skyline
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Positive test rate: 5.2 percent

And for a reminder that a surge can happen anywhere, A Second Wave of COVID Is "Inevitable" in This Safe State, Experts Say.

29
Arkansas

Little Rock Arkansas skyline
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Positive test rate: 5.7 percent

28
Virginia

richmond virginia skyline
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Positive test rate: 6.0 percent

27
Montana

lake in montana
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Positive test rate: 6.8 percent

And for more on one hard-hit state, COVID Is "Expanding" in This State, Leaked White House Document Warns.

26
California

los angeles skyline
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Positive test rate: 7.1 percent

25
South Carolina

hilton head south caroline
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Positive test rate: 7.1 percent

24
Minnesota

downtown minneapolis minnesota
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Positive test rate: 7.5 percent

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23
Kentucky

skyline of louisville kentucky
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Positive test rate: 7.5 percent

22
Delaware

downtown wilmington delaware
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Positive test rate: 7.5 percent

21
Tennessee

Nashville Tennessee TN Drone Skyline Aerial Panorama.
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Positive test rate: 7.6 percent

20
Wisconsin

milwaukee wisconsin skyline
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Positive test rate: 7.7 percent

19
Hawaii

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Positive test rate: 7.8 percent

18
Oklahoma

oklahoma city oklahoma
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Positive test rate: 7.8 percent

17
Alabama

birmingham alabama
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Positive test rate: 8.3 percent

16
North Dakota

theodore roosevelt national park north dakota state natural wonders
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Positive test rate: 8.8 percent

15
South Dakota

rapid city, south dakota
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Positive test rate: 8.9 percent

14
Wyoming

cody river in wyoming
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Positive test rate: 9.0 percent

13
Utah

salt lake city utah skyline
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Positive test rate: 9.2 percent

12
Arizona

phoenix arizona skyline
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Positive test rate: 9.2 percent

11
Nebraska

Downtown Omaha skyline with the Gene Leahy Mall in the foreground
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Positive test rate: 9.5 percent

10
Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA downtown cityscape on the White River at dusk.
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Positive test rate: 9.6 percent

9
Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri, USA downtown cityscape on the Mississippi River at twilight.
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Positive test rate: 9.8 percent

8
Iowa

Iowa
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Positive test rate: 11.2 percent

7
Georgia

savannah georgia waterfront
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Positive test rate: 12.0 percent

6
Kansas

wichita kansas
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Positive test rate: 12.5 percent

5
Texas

austin texas skyline
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Positive test rate: 13.0 percent

4
Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi, USA cityscape at dusk.
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Positive test rate: 15.9 percent

3
Florida

tampa florida skyline
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Positive test rate: 16.4 percent

2
Idaho

boise idaho
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Positive test rate: 16.6 percent

1
Nevada

Reno at sunrise
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Positive test rate: 17.1 percent

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
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