While many states that suffered initial COVID-19 outbreaks experience a lull in new cases, others are adding cases 10 times faster than in their worst week in the spring.
A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows 32 states are adding cases faster than in their worst spring week, and 20 states on Tuesday night had their worst week for cases of the disease: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Some states are having their worst week for new coronavirus deaths. Tennessee reported 102 deaths, a 76% increase from the number of deaths recorded in its worst week in the spring.
Public health experts said COVID-19 cases are increasing at faster rates as the virus spreads to rural communities, where residents aren’t following social distancing or mask wearing guidelines, and in urban areas that see an influx of summer tourists.
Tennessee reported 4.5 times more coronavirus cases this week than in its worst week in the spring, the equivalent of a new case every 46 seconds.
“We have had for over the last month a steady and alarming increase in cases,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University of Tennessee. “Although our cases aren’t as high as Florida, Arizona, California … it clearly indicates that we have not controlled the virus transmission here in our state.”
Schaffner said cases initially focused in the major metropolitan areas spread to smaller towns and rural counties where leaders dictated mask and social distancing policies residents strongly opposed.
SOURCE: USA Today, Adrianna Rodriguez Ryan W. Miller Mike Stucka and Kirk Brown