This State Now Has the Worst COVID-19 Infection Rate in the U.S.
Health officials say college towns may be why West Virginia is seeing spike in COVID-19 cases.
Every few weeks a new state moves to the top of the list of states that are doing the worst at managing the COVID-19 outbreak. The title was previously held by the likes of Louisiana, Hawaii, and South Dakota, but there is officially a new state that holds this distinction right now: West Virginia currently has the worst COVID-19 infection rate in the nation.
Having the worst infection rate in the country is a title that no public health officials would be proud of, and comes from the coronavirus tracking resource rt.live. tracks each state's "Rt value," which they explain as "the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person." If a state's Rt value is higher than 1, that means COVID is spreading quickly. But if it's under 1, the virus' spread is slowing.
West Virginia currently has an estimated Rt value of 1.29, which puts it dead last in a list if all 50 states. New daily cases peaked in The Mountain State on July 24th with 344 infections but dipped all the way to only 40 positive test results on Aug. 24th. Over the first week of September, however, new cases have averaged between 150 and 200 per day according to rt.live. By comparison, the state with the lowest Rt value in the country (and doing the best at managing the outbreak) is currently Vermont, which comes in at .86.
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources officials reported 86 new COVID-19 cases in the Mountain State on Sept. 8th, bringing the total count to 11,661. According to data from DHHR, 152 patients are currently hospitalized. Fifty-seven patients are in ICU, and 26 patients are on ventilators.
It is not yet clear what is behind the recent rise in cases, but some are suggesting it's the result of a return of more 30,000 college students to the Morgantown campus of West Virginia University, which announced on Sept. 7th that it is suspending in-person classes at its main campus because of concerns over a recent spike in coronavirus infections. In a statement, university officials said the decision was made "in direct response to a recent increase in positive cases in students on the Morgantown campus, as well as concern for the probability of increased cases following several reports of parties held this holiday weekend where groups should have been in quarantine." And to learn at least one of the ways that West Virginia could potentially turn things around, know that Arizona Is Now Seeing COVID Cases Drop After Doing This.