The delta variant of the Covid-19 virus returned the United States to transmission levels six months ago, before vaccines were widely available to most of the population.
As this weekend approaches, the Brown School of Public Health Risk Assessment Map shows 25 states in red color. Half of the country’s states have an average of 25 or more new daily cases per 100,000 population. Health officials consider communities with this level of transmission to be “at a tipping point.”
The speed at which the virus spreads is astounding. Three weeks ago, the risk assessment map had three red states. Two weeks ago, seven states were in the red. Last week, they were 14.
MORE: See last week’s state-by-state rankings
Here are the 10 states with the highest community spread of Covid-19 in the United States, according to data from the Brown School of Public Health.
For the past month, Florida has been the epicenter of the âunvaccinated pandemicâ. If the Sunshine State was a country, it wouldn’t be. 3 in the world for its infection rate, behind only Saint-Barth and Martinique.
Florida currently has an average of 132.2 new daily Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people, according to data from Brown University. That’s a 37% jump in one week, following a 59% jump the week before. Florida’s transmission rate is five times the threshold for what health officials consider a “very high” rate of spread. Less than half of Floridians are fully vaccinated.
Despite all of this, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order remains in place prohibiting local governments from requiring face masks. The city of Palm Beach and the counties home to Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando have all imposed masks inside government buildings in defiance of DeSantis. Last week, Disney World reverted to an indoor mask mandate.
The current level of transmission is of concern to people who sail from Florida, which is home to the three largest cruise ports in the United States. Thanks to DeSantis’ high-profile but unpopular law banning so-called vaccine passports, cruise lines are prohibited from requiring passengers departing from Florida to show proof of their vaccination status.
All Louisiana counties are now in the red zone. With an average of 96.6 new daily Covid-19 cases per day per 100,000 people – a jump of 18% from last week, after a 73% increase the week before – Louisiana maintains its number. 2 position for the spread of the virus in the country. Only 37.2% of the state’s residents are fully immunized, a slight improvement from last week.
Two weeks ago, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued an advisory on indoor masks as cases of Covid-19 increased in the city. This week, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards ordered all Louisianans to hide inside again, as the state has more than 2,200 hospital patients with Covid, a pandemic record.
Oklahoma jumped from one position to no. 3 slots this week. In the Sooner State, an average of 79.4 new cases of Covid-19 are recorded each day per 100,000 people – a jump of 42% in seven days, after a 58% increase in the previous week. Only 40% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, virtually no improvement from a week ago.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt called on Oklahoma residents to wear masks in public, but rejected calls for a state warrant. Local mask mandates in the largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, ended last spring.
Arkansas lost one position this week, to no. 4. As this weekend approaches, Arkansas is recording an average of 69.5 new cases of Covid-19 each day per 100,000 people, a jump of 19% from last week, after an increase by 35% the previous week.
Only 41.8% of Arkansans are fully vaccinated – but that’s a big improvement from 36.2% last week.
This week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reversed his previous stance on masks, saying he now regrets a statewide ban on face mask warrants. The governor called an extraordinary session of the state legislature to amend the law. âLooking back, I wish it hadn’t become law,â Hutchinson said at a press conference.
Mississippi remains at no. 5 for the second consecutive week. The state is currently recording an average of 68.1 new daily cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people, a jump of 42% from last week, after a sharp increase of 62% the week before. Only 34.8% of Mississippians are vaccinated.
The Mississippi governor’s lack of response during this crisis prompted the state’s second-largest newspaper to ask, “Where’s Tate Reeves?” “
Alabama wins a position at no. 6 this week. Although Gov. Kay Ivey said two weeks ago that “it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated” for the Covid outbreak, only 34.6% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, a very slight improvement from last week. Alabama records an average of 56.6 new daily cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people – a massive 63% jump since last week.
While the transmission rate is still on the rise in Missouri, the Show Me State managed to drop one spot last week. The state is currently registering 48.5 new daily Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people, a 19% increase last week, following an 11% increase the week before. Only 41.8% of Missouri residents are fully immunized, a slight increase from last week.
Despite the wave of Covid, Republican state officials have blocked St. Louis and Kansas City from reimposing mask warrants in indoor public places.
Alaska slips up to no. 8 in the country, with an average of 45.1 new cases of Covid-19 every day per 100,000 people – a jump of 52% last week.
Governor Mike Dunleavy urges Alaskans to get vaccinated. Only 45.8% of the state’s population are fully immunized, a very small improvement from last week.
9. South Carolina
New to the top 10, South Carolina comes in at no. 9 this week, after recording an average of 44.7 new daily cases per 100,000 people. Only 40.9% of South Carolinians are fully vaccinated.
Tennessee is also new in the top 10, where only 39.4% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. The voluntary state registers an average of 40.5 new cases per 100,000 people every day.