Unless You Live Here, Your State Is Handling Coronavirus "Poorly"

The coronavirus outbreak has gotten much worse across the country, except there, Harvard experts says.

In the past few weeks, COVID-19 outbreaks have gone from bad to worse in many states across the nation. But while coronavirus cases are spiking in many states, particularly in the western and southern parts of the country, there are some states where the number of cases is staying flat, or for a few, actually going down. That's according to the researchers behind COVID Exit Strategy, a Harvard-based analysis that looks at a multitude of variables—such as ICU availability, testing targets, and new daily cases—and assesses how effectively (or not) each state is handling the coronavirus. There are three categories: trending poorly, making progress, or trending better.

There is some irony in that the states that saw the earliest outbreaks and were the hottest of hotspots in March and April are now "trending better." But there are also states across that country that have successfully kept the curve flat throughout these past four months. Read on to see which states are managing to at least "make progress" in the battle against COVID-19 right now. And for more states in trouble, check out These Are the 4 New Epicenters of the Pandemic, Former FDA Chief Says.


Fair Haven is a neighborhood in the eastern part of the city of New Haven, Connecticut, between the Mill and Quinnipiac rivers.

Connecticut is currently doing remarkably well in terms of combatting COVID. On Sunday, July 5, there were zero new reported cases, which continues a downward trend line from double-digit cases in the weeks before, according to The New York Times. Connecticut is just one of four states that can boast a downward trend and is the only one that is doing that and "trending better," according to COVID Exit Strategy. And for more on the Nutmeg State, check out These Are the Only Two States Where COVID-19 Cases Are Going Down.

New York

hudson valley with two bridges over the river

For a long time, the Empire State was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, where daily coronavirus cases peaked at over 12,000 in early April. But as of July 5, that number has declined by nearly 96 percent to roughly 500 new cases, according to The New York Times. New York is another one of the states that is "trending better," according to COVID Exit Strategy. And for more on New York v. COVID, check out Gov. Cuomo Just Issued This Dire Warning About Another Lockdown.

New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY, USA - SEPTEMBER 20, 2017: Atlantic city waterline aerial view. AC is a tourist city in New Jersey famous for its casinos, boardwalks, and beaches

There is no question that the coronavirus hit the Garden State hard; over 15,000 of its residents have been killed by the disease. But now, COVID Exit Strategy says the state is seeing only 36 new cases per 1 million residents daily, making it the last of the states that are "trending better."


Downtown Omaha skyline with the Gene Leahy Mall in the foreground

Nebraska has seen less than 300 citizens succumb to the deadly COVID-19 contagion. And for the past week, the number of news cases has held steady around 150 or so cases per day. Though it's not necessarily on the decline, it's not seeing a spike either, which is why COVID Exit Strategy says it's "making progress."

South Dakota

overview of the badlands national park

Like many states, South Dakota has had some ups and downs in managing COVID-19. When a meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls had to shut down due to a coronavirus outbreak, the state made national news. But since a peak of cases in the spring, the state has managed to limit the outbreak or, at least, has kept it it from rising. With 62 new cases per 1 million residents every day now, COVID Exit Strategy says South Dakota is "making progress."


aerial view of the town of winona minnesota

Minnesota saw a later peak in COVID cases than most states: May 24 was the state's biggest day. But despite the protests and civil unrest that came from George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis in late May, Minnesota has kept a relatively flat number of roughly 500 new cases per day, according to The Times. COVID Exit Strategy assesses that the state is "making progress," with 66 new cases per 1 million residents daily. And for more on Minnesota, check out This Is How the Protests Are Affecting Coronavirus Cases.

West Virginia

the high arched bridge in fayetteville west virginia

While cases are increasing in West Virginia, the COVID Exit Strategy rates it as "making progress" because it's only seeing around 35 new positive cases daily per 1 million residents.


louisville kentucky at night

According to the COVID Exit Strategy, Kentucky's coronavirus cases remain flat. It may be seeing 37 new cases per 1 million residents daily, but that's far better than the spikes nearby states are seeing, which is why Kentucky is "making progress."

Rhode Island

downtown providence rhode island

The number of new cases in Rhode Island is down an impressive 10 percent, according to COVID Exit Strategy. Plus, the state's testing is almost double its daily target. That's why it's one of the states that's also "making progress." And for more on changes Rhode Island is making these days, check out This State Is Changing Its Name Because of Slavery Associations.


Sailboats on the Charles River with Boston's Back Bay skyline in the background.

On Sunday, July 5, Massachusetts reported only 136 new cases, which continues an impressive trend line from triple-digit cases in the weeks before, according to The New York Times. Considering that new cases peaked in April at over 3,00o in Massachusetts, it's no surprise it lands on COVID Exit Strategy's list of states "making progress." It's seen an impressive 14 percent decrease in new cases in the past two weeks.


montpelier vermont from above

Vermont also lands on the "making progress" list in large part due to the fact that, according to COVID Exit Strategy, the state is only seeing 11 new cases per 1 million citizens per day.

New Hampshire

Portsmouth is the third oldest city in the United States

New Hampshire, like its neighbor Vermont, also makes the list. According to COVID Exit Strategy, the state is only seeing 15 new cases per 1 million citizens per day and the trend line is heading downward, like Rhode Island's, Connecticut's, and Massachusetts'.


beautiful lighthouse during sunset in portland Maine

Maine also makes the list of states "making progress" because its COVID-19 rate is flat, according to COVID Exit Strategy. The state is only seeing 24 new cases 1 per million citizens per day.


buildings along kapalua beach in maui hawaii

While cases are increasing slightly in Hawaii, according to COVID Exit Strategy, the state is still only seeing 13 new cases per 1 million citizens daily, which lands it on the site's "making progress" list. And for another reason to want to move to these islands, check out Your Risk of Contracting Coronavirus Is Lowest in This State.

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