The United States has seen a surge in coronavirus cases over the last few weeks. According to the New York Times, the U.S. now has over 11.6 million cases and 250,000 deaths. When looking at individual state case counts, the states with the best results right now have a state-wide mask mandate and are social distancing.
According to NPR, the five states with the worst case counts are North Dakota with 185 cases per 100,000 people, South Dakota with 161 cases per 100,000 people, Wyoming with 146 cases, Iowa with 132 and Nebraska with 123. South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming don’t have a statewide mask mandate. North Dakota created a statewide mask mandate on Nov. 14 and Iowa created a statewide mask mandate on Nov. 17. The states or territories with the best current rates are Hawaii with six cases per 100,000 people and the Virgin Islands with five cases per 100,000 people. On a local note, Washington is considered ‘unchecked community spread’ with 26 cases per 100,000 people.
The spike in cases is causing more patients to be hospitalized resulting in a lack of beds in the hospitals. On Nov. 11, the Mississippi Department of Health tweeted “that hospitalizations are nearly at the same level as they were when the pandemic started.” Washington state ICU’s are nearing capacity as COVID-19 continues to surge and the normal influenza season takes place.
With the United States set to undergo a transition in leadership, President-elect Biden has begun working towards a COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board. Trump’s refusal to concede in the 2020 presidential election has delayed Biden and his team in working on plans for the vaccine. Biden has indicated that more people could die if there isn’t coordination between the Trump administration and Biden administration soon.
With the holiday season approaching, Deputy Secretary of Health for COVID-19 Response, Lacy Fehrenbach, reminded everyone that “the safest Thanksgiving is one celebrated only with the people in your immediate household.”