Virus spread still rampant in most states at year’s end, data shows


Though the dreadful year that brought unforeseen devastation is finally coming to an end, coronavirus spread is still rampant throughout the United States as we enter the new year, according to the latest data.

Coronavirus conditions have improved across the country between November and December, but conditions are still considerably poor as of Dec. 31.

According to research group Covid Act Now, most states are experiencing an “active or imminent outbreak,” while others are still experiencing “severe” COVID outbreaks. One month ago, on Nov. 28, half of the country was experiencing severe virus outbreaks — which the group identified was the nation’s “third wave” of the virus (and they say it’s currently still ongoing).

For months, we’ve been following data from Covid Act Now — a group of technologists, epidemiologists, health experts and public policy leaders that monitors and identifies each state’s risk level for a COVID-19 outbreak. Since the summertime, the group used four risk level categories to identify virus spread in the U.S.: “low,” “medium,” “high” and “critical.” But, with a massive virus surge plaguing the nation in November, the group had to create a higher risk level: severe.

As of Dec. 31, only four states — California, Arizona, Tennessee and Rhode Island — are labeled as experiencing severe virus outbreaks.

Most of the country — 42 states, to be exact — are colored crimson, meaning they are identified as experiencing active or imminent outbreaks, which is considered the critical risk level. Michigan is among those critical states.

Oregon, Vermont and Washington are the only three states “at risk of an outbreak,” which is considered the high risk level. Hawaii is the only state experiencing “slow disease growth,” a medium risk level, as of Dec. 31.

There are currently no states labeled at low risk for a coronavirus outbreak by the group.

Like most other states, Michigan’s risk for coronavirus spread has constantly shifted throughout the year due to fluctuating rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, contact tracing and more.

Throughout October and November, the state’s risk level consistently trended in an adverse direction as the virus spread more rapidly than in previous months. Michigan was considered to be experiencing a severe outbreak briefly in December, but has been consistently labeled critical since the end of October, according to the group.

While a number of key factors contribute to a state’s risk level for a COVID-19 outbreak, most critical states — including Michigan — are specifically struggling with a “dangerous” number of daily new virus cases.

One of the key factors contributing to Michigan’s critical risk status — and potentially the most significant — is the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded each day per every 100,000 residents in the state.

As of Dec. 31, Covid Act Now reports that Michigan is seeing a “critical” average of 27.4 new…



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