Dec 10, 2020 - Health

Middle America is still racking up a ton of new coronavirus cases

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, Census Bureau; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, Census Bureau; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Midwest and Great Plains regions, parts of which have already struggled with overwhelmed hospitals, continue to lead the U.S. with the densest concentration of coronavirus cases.

The big picture: With winter approaching — and widespread vaccination still several months away — the virus is spreading with dangerous ease.

By the numbers: Over the past week, Indiana, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Utah racked up an average of at least 100 new cases per day for every 100,000 residents.

  • Another 16 states saw 75-100 new cases per capita per day.
  • Heavily rural states have less hospital capacity to care for all those people and will face bigger challenges from vaccines that require ultra-cold storage.

How it works: Every week for several months, Axios has been tracking the change in daily infections in each state.

  • This week, though, we're looking at the total number of cases per capita, instead of the change in the number of cases.
  • The Thanksgiving holiday caused some issues with states' reporting. Everything seems to be back on track now, but we don't want to rely on earlier data that may not paint an accurate picture of the pandemic.

The bottom line: This is simply too much coronavirus.

  • Too many new infections are sending too many seriously ill patients into hospitals. Almost 105,000 people are hospitalized for coronavirus infections right now.
  • These infections also are leading to too many deaths — nearly 13,000 in just the past week.
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