These 4 States Are Now Seeing the Worst COVID Spikes in the U.S.

These serious surges are all falling in one region, with some governors still ignoring expert advice.

After an absolutely awful summer, most parts of the U.S. are seeing new coronavirus cases finally level off. Even former hotspots such as Arizona and Florida are currently boasting some of the lowest numbers they've seen in months, with experts crediting mitigation efforts such as closing bars and issuing mask mandates as the reasons for the turnaround. But not all states are seeing that kind of success. For the past few weeks, the worst COVID spikes have been in the Midwest, just as White House Coronavirus Task Force members Deborah Birx, MD, and Anthony Fauci, MD, predicted.

The region is seeing COVID numbers soar for a couple of reasons: 1) Reopened colleges and 2) South Dakota's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the worst superspreader events since the pandemic began. Even still, some of these states are refusing to heed White House warnings to institute basic public safety measures as their cases continue to climb. Now, all of the states with the most new coronavirus cases nationally are in the Midwest, The Guardian reports. But which are getting hit hardest? These are the four states seeing the worst COVID spikes in the country right now, based on their daily new cases per capita. And for more on when we could see the next national wave of cases hit, check out This Is When Experts Say the Next COVID Surge Will Happen in the U.S.



Daily new cases per 100,000 residents: 22

According to data from Covid Act Now, Missouri's positive test rate at 13 percent with 22 new daily cases per 100,000 people being reported. Still, the Show-Me State is one of the few remaining states to resist calls to institute a statewide mask mandate. Instead, Gov. Mike Parson has left the public health decision up to the mayors of Missouri's major cities, such as Kansas City and St. Louis. And for more on an unexpected benefit of wearing PPE, check out One Major Upside of Wearing a Face Mask You Didn't Know.


des moines iowa

Daily new cases per 100,000 residents: 23

A bad situation in Iowa has turned even worse over the past two weeks. On Aug. 31, the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued a warning to the state about its growing outbreak, urging that "mask mandates across the state must be in place to decrease transmission." However, Gov. Kim Reynolds has since refused to heed that advice, holding steady after closing bars in just six counties in mid-August.

According to Covid Act Now, Iowa currently has 23 daily new cases per capita and a 15 percent positive test rate, making it slightly worse off than Missouri.

South Dakota

The main street of Deadwood, South Dakota with cars and shops in view.

Daily new cases per 100,000 residents: 27

South Dakota's surge comes in the wake of the state's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which a recent study called a "worst-case scenario" superspreader event that is now responsible for more than 266,000 coronavirus cases nationally since it wrapped in mid-August. As of Sept. 9, South Dakota is one of two states in the critical "red zone" on Covid Act Now's risk level map, seeing 27 cases per capita daily and a positive test rate of 18 percent. And for more information on COVID delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

North Dakota

fargo north dakota

Daily new cases per 100,000 residents: 35

North Dakota has the largest number of positive cases per capita in the U.S. as of late. While many of those cases have also been traced back to the Sturgis Motorcyle Rally that was held in August in neighboring South Dakota, others have been linked to the reopening of college campuses across the state. As of Sept. 9, North Dakota is the other state in Covid Act Now's "red zone," with 35 new daily cases per 100,000 people and a 19 percent positive test rate. And for more information on where COVID is spreading, This State Now Has the Worst COVID-19 Infection Rate in the U.S.

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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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