Health

Omicron heads west: Oregon, Alaska and Utah now lead US in case growth

As the Omicron-fueled wave of Covid appears near its peak in several eastern states, the virus has begun to head west, hitting other places in the country. Oregon, Utah and Alaska now lead the nation in the growth of Covid cases over the past two weeks, ending a long run of states along the East Coast like New York, New Jersey, South Carolina and Vermont that lead the nation.

Cases are also increasing in all 50 states, and have more than doubled in the past two weeks in 43 states. The average daily cases nationwide hit a record 786,416 today and 1,822 deaths each day — the highest total since October.

Oregon leads the way, with a 486 percent increase in cases over the past two weeks, up to 181 of every 100,000 residents who have tested positive for the virus daily.

In Utah, cases are up 468 percent in the past 14 days, with 279 of every 100,000 beehive state residents reporting infections daily.

The distance between Alaska and the rest of the nation, and the difference in climate, often causes the state to see different trends than other parts of America. For now, though, he’s following several other people on the West Coast, with cases increasing by 443 percent in the past two weeks — with 197 out of every 100,000 residents infected each day.

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Other countries in the region have also seen significant increases in the past two weeks. Cases have more than tripled in every US state west of the Mississippi River — sans Missouri and Kansas — over the past two weeks, showing a clear trend as the spread of the virus expands.

The big increases among western states come as storm surge across the East Coast begins to recede. New York, which saw a tenfold increase in cases when Omicron first arrived in December, is now recording an increase over the past two weeks of just 69 percent.

Neighboring New Jersey has also experienced a massive increase in cases — they jumped sevenfold when Omicron first landed in December, but growing case numbers have since fallen in Garden State as well. Over the past 14 days, cases have increased by 67 percent in New Jersey.

The two countries remain among the nationwide leaders in infection rate, another sign that they are at the height of their Omicron outbreak.

In New York, 363 out of every 100,000 residents are tested positive each day, putting the state, where 73 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, second in the nation. New Jersey, which has a vaccination rate of 71 percent, records 328 infections per 100,000 residents per day, the fourth in America.

Rhode Island is the leading state in the incidence rate by a large margin. Its 505 daily cases per 100,000 residents outperform every other US state by a large margin. The recent increase is particularly worrisome because of the high vaccination rate, with 78 percent of the population fully vaccinated—linked to Vermont with the highest rate in America.

Cases in the state have more than tripled in the past two weeks, up 276 percent over 14 days.

Three other states have an average daily infection rate of more than 300 cases per 100,000 residents. Massachusetts third in the country with a score of 345; Delaware, fifth with a score of 308; Florida ranks sixth with 305. All six states that have reached this level of infection have vaccination rates of 64 percent or higher — beating the national pace of 63 percent.

Infection rates in many western states are nowhere near the state level in the Northeast, even amid an increase in cases.

In Idaho, for example, cases are up 215 percent over the past two weeks, but only 81 out of every 100,000 residents test positive for the virus daily. Montana is similar, with a 364 percent increase, except that only 103 of every 100,000 residents have tested positive. Wyoming, Iowa and Nebraska are in similar situations. Each of these states also have a large rural population and are not as densely populated as many of their peers.

Maine currently has the lowest infection rate, with 74 out of every 100,000 residents showing infection every day, as the state on America’s northeastern tip has managed to bring the virus under control despite the chaos in surrounding states.

South Carolina was the nationwide leader in case growth earlier this week, posting increases of more than 800 percent at some points. The state saw a dip in growth, as did the others, with the growth rate dropping to 440 percent on Thursday afternoon. While the palmetto state is still fourth in the United States in changing status by two weeks, the number is rapidly shrinking.

Case growth rates remain high in most parts of the region. Mississippi, Alabama and North Carolina have all seen daily cases more than triple in the past two weeks. The infection rate in these states has not reached the level of New York, New Jersey and other leaders either, which means there may still be some time before cases peak.

Indiana still holds the honor of publishing America’s highest death rate from Covid, and is one of five states that recorded more than one death per 100,000 residents as of Thursday. Hosier has 1.57 deaths per 100,000 residents per day.

It’s closely followed by Delaware, where 1.11 out of every 100,000 residents die daily from the virus, and Pennsylvania at 1.11.

Michigan has again crept above 1 death per 100,000 residents — hitting 1.08 Thursday — and Maryland has hit the target as well despite a recent dip in growth status.

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