These Two States Just Saw Their Worst Coronavirus Case Spikes Yet

Both Indiana and North Dakota have seen an uptick in their seven-day averages as schools reopen.

The beginning of August saw some of the first pieces of good news amid the coronavirus pandemic in weeks, as new cases began to slowly decline in previous hotspots like Arizona and California. Unfortunately, other states' infection rates have begun to creep up—even places that were previously considered "safe," like Hawaii. But according to recent figures, there are two states that just their worst coronavirus case spikes in a week since the pandemic began: Indiana and North Dakota.

As of August 12, the most recent weekly new case numbers for both Indiana and North Dakota have reached their highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, according to USA Today. In the last seven days, there have been 952 new cases in North Dakota, a 2 percent increase in cases from two weeks ago, according to The New York Times data. Meanwhile, Indiana had 6,681 new cases in the last week, a shocking 13 percent spike from the average two weeks prior, The Times reports.

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While both states are currently seeing sharp coronavirus case spikes, their containment efforts when it comes to COVID have been quite different. While Indiana issued a statewide mask mandate on July 27, North Dakota has stopped short of legally requiring residents to use face coverings in public spaces, opting instead to "strongly urge" masks and leaving the decision to local authorities.

But both states have also struggled with how to reopen schools, with sudden outbreaks forcing certain districts in Indiana to opt for remote learning or reduced in-person class scheduling, and North Dakota adjusting plans according to class size and locally reported cases on a school-by-school basis.

In a press conference addressing the pandemic on August 12, Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, said she believed the rise in cases began with large gatherings on July 4th and continued with weddings and graduation parties throughout the month. "We cannot behave as if things are normal," she warned.

According to the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) COVID-19 Risk Levels dashboard, Indiana currently shows a seven-day average of 14 new cases per 100,000 residents, while North Dakota's is 17.5 per 100,000. Those figures earn both states an "orange" level threat rating, indicating an accelerated spread. At this rate, the HGHI advises "stay-at-home orders and/or rigorous test and trace programs." And for more states in trouble, check out Here's When Your State Will Have to Shut Down Again.

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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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