These 6 States Could Become the Next Hotspots, Harvard Doctor Says

Ashish Jha, MD, points to smaller states that are struggling to contain their COVID outbreaks.

Even with some improvement in the hardest-hit states, COVID case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths are still rising nationwide. The coronavirus pandemic is not going away anytime soon, and now some experts are shifting their focus from known hotspots in the U.S. to the states that could become the country's next hotspots. While they may not have case numbers as high as those in COVID epicenters like California, Florida, and Texas, these states are still struggling to contain outbreaks that could become much worse in short order.

Ashish Jha, MD, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, has been singling out the states he's most concerned about on Twitter. In a thread on July 26, Jha named six states that aren't yet hotspots but are "heading there." While "some of these are small states so [they] don't make national news," Jha pointed out many have "limited hospital capacity" and "can ill afford to stretch their ICUs." These are the states that need to act quickly to reverse course. And for more states not getting enough attention, These 3 States Are the Coronavirus Hotspots No One Is Talking About.


madison wisconsin

The experts at Covid Act Now categorize Wisconsin as a high-risk state, thanks in large part to the infection rate (the average number of people a sick person will infect) of 1.12 and the daily new case rate of 16.3 cases per 100,000 people, a "very large number of new cases." Wisconsin recently passed 900 COVID deaths, and The New York Times reports 52,685 total coronavirus cases as of July 27. And for even more precise data, discover The Biggest Coronavirus Hotspot in Every State.

North Dakota

grand forks north dakota

North Dakota has a higher infection rate than Wisconsin at 1.22, but a slightly lower daily new case rate of 15.4 new cases per 100,000 people. Nevertheless, those numbers indicate that coronavirus is spreading quickly in the state, earning it another high-risk designation from Covid Act Now. There have been just over 100 COVID deaths in the state, with 5,880 cases.


louisville kentucky skyline

Kentucky and North Dakota share the same high infection rate of 1.22, meaning both states are having trouble slowing the spread of the virus. And Kentucky also has a high daily new case rate (14.3 new cases per 100,000 people), along with a positive test rate of 8.6 percent, higher than the previous two states. As of July 27, there have been just over 27,680 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, and nearly 720 resulting deaths. And if you're wondering what puts a state in the danger zone, Your State Should Lock Down Again Once It Hits This Exact Benchmark.


omaha nebraska

Another one of Covid Act Now's high-risk states, Nebraska's COVID cases are rising fast. The state is currently seeing 13.4 daily new cases per 100,000 people, and it has a high infection rate (1.16). So far, that has amounted to almost 24,620 COVID cases in the state. There have been just over 320 deaths from the virus. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.


lake in montana

Of the states Jha listed, Montana has some of the most encouraging numbers. Covid Act Now puts Montana's infection rate at 1.15, which is notably lower than when it had one of the highest infection rates in the country. Still, that number is higher than it should be, indicating that Montana has not managed to get full control of its coronavirus outbreak. As of July 27, the state has seen more than 3,340 COVID cases and just over 45 deaths, per The New York Times.


cody river in wyoming

Like Montana, Wyoming doesn't seem to be in immediate trouble at first glance: The daily new case rate of 8.3 cases per 100,000 people means "COVID not contained, but at low levels," according to Covid Act Now. Again, it's the state's high infection rate—1.17, in this case—that spells trouble, and means Wyoming could be headed for hotspot territory. Of the states Jha listed, Wyoming has had the fewest coronavirus cases overall: 2,475, along with 25 deaths from COVID. And for more concerning news, Not a Single U.S. State Is "On Track to Contain COVID," Researchers Say.

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.
Filed Under