Two More States Are Now on Track to Contain Coronavirus

Based on testing, tracing, and preparation, these East Coast states are positioned to contain COVID-19.

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Coronavirus case numbers continue to rise around the country—measuredly in some places, alarmingly in many others. And while it's hard not to focus on all the things going wrong since reopening, it's important not to ignore, or fail to learn from, the few states that seem to have things under control. Roughly one week ago, Michigan, New York, and New Jersey were the only three states considered to be on track to contain the coronavirus—based on data analysis from Covid Act Now, a multidisciplinary team of technologists, epidemiologists, health experts, and public policy leaders. Just six days later, Michigan has been downgraded to "controlled disease growth" due to the recent increase of new cases. The good news is, New York and New Jersey remain on track and are now joined by two of their East Coast neighbors: Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The team behind Covid Act Now analyzes data from The New York Times and several other vetted tracking sources to determine what level of risk each state has for spreading the coronavirus. To arrive at their conclusions, they look to four key indicators: whether or not cases are decreasing, if there is an adequate amount of testing being done, if hospitals are prepared and have space available, and if the state is contact tracing properly and efficiently. Read on to see where these two new states measure up when it comes to those indicators. And for some areas that aren't doing quite so well right now, check out These 4 States Where COVID-19 Cases Are Spiking Have Paused Reopening.

1
Connecticut

Lynde Point Lighthouse, Old Saybrook, Connecticut, USA
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Connecticut recently joined New York and New Jersey in issuing a travel advisory that requires anyone arriving from a state with high infection rates to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. That's because Connecticut has seen new cases and hospitalizations steadily decline in recent weeks and state officials want to keep it that way.

According to Covid Act Now, the state has an infection rate—the average number of people each sick person will infect—of 0.75 and a positive test rate of 1.4 percent, which the Covid Act Now team says "suggests enough widespread, aggressive testing in Connecticut to detect most new cases." In addition, of the 56 percent of available ICU hospital beds, Connecticut would only need 19 percent to be in a position to handle a second wave of the virus. The state also has 860 contact tracers, which is far more than the 395 that Covid Act Now estimates would be enough to trace all new COVID-19 cases within a 48-hour period. And for a few of the areas that are far less in control, check out These 5 States Are Headed for Another Lockdown, Virologist Says.

2
Massachusetts

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

Massachusetts finds itself in a very similar situation to Connecticut. With a 0.76 infection rate, a 2.5 percent positive test rate, and estimated to need only 14 percent of the 65 percent of ICU hospitals currently available in the state, things are looking pretty good. Not to mention the fact that Massachusetts has 2,500 contact tracers, more than double what Covid Act Now estimates it actually needs. However, we know how quickly things can change course (remember Michigan?), so it's important for these states to be diligent as they continue to do what has been working for them. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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