This Surprising State Is Seeing the Worst COVID Surge in the U.S.

The former success story has seen cases skyrocket, and officials are now rolling back reopenings.

No matter what shape your state was in just months ago, there's a very good chance that the area you live in is undergoing a coronavirus surge that's worse than anything you've seen throughout the pandemic. But there's one state that's struggling most of all, and it's the smallest one in the Union. Yes, in a surprising twist, Rhode Island is now seeing the worst COVID surge in the U.S. Read on to see just how bad things are in the Ocean State, and for more on the places that appear to be doing it right, check out Dr. Fauci Says These 2 States Have Had the Best COVID Response.

According to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rhode Island's seven-day new coronavirus case daily average has just jumped to the highest in the nation. As of Dec. 9, figures show that the state is averaging nearly 124 new cases per 100,000 people daily over the past week.

The news comes as a shock for a state whose officials have taken action to slow the increasing rate of infection. Rhode Island is currently halfway through Gov. Gina Raimondo's "two-week pause" that began on Nov. 30, which includes a stay-at-home advisory (from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday and from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). The order also forces gyms, bars, theaters, bowling alleys, and casinos statewide to close, limits indoor dining to 33 percent capacity, and caps religious services to 25 percent capacity.

Even federal health experts pointed out that Raimondo was already doing a good job of attempting to stop the spread of COVID-19 as a change in seasons has made it more difficult. "Rhode Island is really no different than any other place in the country where people have moved indoors, brought the virus with them—many people are asymptomatic, so the virus is being spread to others," Deborah Birx, MD, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, told local affiliate WPRI on Dec. 4.

Still, other experts point to the state's unique makeup as a reason for the current surge that has overwhelmed local hospitals. "We are the 2nd most densely populated state, with lots of multi-family and multi-generational homes," Megan Ranney, MD, a Brown University emergency room physician, tweeted on Dec. 8. "This leads to fast spread, simply because people can't distance from each other … We also have a lot of poverty, a lot of essential workers, & a lot of immigrants. And we know that economic & racial inequity are major drivers of transmission of the virus."

But while Rhode Island may be the newest state to top the list, it's far from alone in struggling with the coronavirus. Read on to see which other states else are experiencing the worst outbreaks, according to the CDC data, and for more on red flags that you're already sick, check out This Strange Pain Could Be the First Sign You Have COVID, Study Says.

10
Wyoming

Casper is a city in and the county seat of Natrona County, Wyoming, United States. Casper is the second largest city in the state
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90.8 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

And for more on how the rest of the year could play out, check out Dr. Fauci Says This One Thing Could Spread COVID More Than Anything Yet.

9
Nebraska

cityscape photo of Omaha, Nebraska in the afternoon
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91.9 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

8
Minnesota

Minnesota
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93.9 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

And for more on how you can stay safe, be sure to avoid the places listed here: Almost All COVID Transmission Is Happening in These 5 Places, Doctor Says.

7
Alaska

skyline photo with the Chugach mountains in Anchorage, Alaska at dusk
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95.4 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

6
Ohio

city skyline of and the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio
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97.7 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

5
Utah

cityscape photo of Salt Lake City, Utah at dusk
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98.3 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

And for more advice on protecting yourself, check out The FDA Just Issued a Warning Against This Kind of Face Mask.

4
South Dakota

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99.2 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

3
Indiana

cityscape photo of Indianapolis, Indiana at night
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103.1 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

And for more regular updates on the pandemic, sign up for our daily newsletter.

2
North Dakota

The Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
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113.1 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

1
Rhode Island

buildings and walking bridge by a lake in Providence, Rhode Island at night
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123.8 daily new cases per 100,000 people on average over the last seven days

And for more on potential shutdowns, check out Dr. Fauci Says These 2 Places Need to Close Right Now.

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.
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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