May 5, 2022 - Health

COVID cases jump in Northeast, Pacific Northwest

Change in reported COVID-19 cases per 100k people in the last two weeks
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID cases are rising in all but four states and Washington, D.C., as Omicron and new, potentially more transmissible versions of the Omicron variant, sweep across the U.S.

The big picture: COVID rates in the Northeast are reaching some of their highest levels in three months. But the South may be in for a new wave come summer.

By the numbers: There were roughly 62,500 new daily cases over the last week, up 46% from 43,000 two weeks ago.

  • In the Northeast, Maine saw the biggest jump, with a case rate of 47.5 new cases per 100,000 people, roughly double the levels two weeks ago.
  • Rhode Island and Vermont had the highest case rates at 50.1 and 49.9 new cases per 100,000, respectively.
  • In the Pacific Northwest, Washington reported 33.4 new cases per 100,000, up from 29.8 two weeks ago.
  • Case counts were below 10 new infections per 100,000 people across 22 states, including Arizona and Oklahoma where rates dropped to 4.6 and 5.2 new cases per 100,000, respectively.

Between the lines: The U.S. averaged roughly 340 deaths from COVID a day, down 12% from about 390 two weeks ago.

Reality check: As we've warned before, the data on new cases are getting less reliable as the public testing infrastructure continues to wind down and home test results are less likely to be reported to officials.

  • But it still offers a window into the broad trends of COVID spread in the states.

What they're saying: While cases are currently up in the Northern states, Southern states should be prepared for a possible surge of COVID-19 cases this summer, former White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said this week.

  • "What has happened each time is we've had a summer surge across the South and a winter surge that starts in our Northern Plains and moves down, accelerated by Thanksgiving and the holidays," Birx told CBS' "Face the Nation."
  • "So if you're going to go see your grandmother, or someone that has metastatic breast cancer, or someone under treatment for Hodgkin's disease, or a family member with Down syndrome, you need to test before you go," she said.
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