September 20, 2020

Travel Alert: 6 Midwest States At ‘Tipping Point,’ Per Harvard-Brown Covid-19 Tracker


The Covid-19 epicenter has shifted to the U.S. Midwest.

With the country’s coronavirus epicenter now hovering over the Midwest, the number of states “at a tipping point” for COVID-19 infections has jumped from one to six in the past week.

Americans who live in 33 states — two-thirds of the country — should not be traveling right now, according to the risk-assessment map run by the Harvard Global Health Institute and Brown School of Public Health. The color-coded map provides a simple way for Americans to assess that risk. Each state has a rating of green, yellow, orange or red, based upon the number of new daily cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average. States colored red or orange are over the threshold for allowing non-essential travel, according to the scientists.

Based on the tracker’s latest data, six states — North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma — are now colored red, which means they have 25 or more new positive Covid-19 cases every day per 100,000 people. Those states are “at a tipping point” and should be under stay-at-home orders, according to the Harvard and Brown researchers.

A week ago, only North Dakota was in the red zone. Over the past seven days, the Roughrider State’s average tally of new cases climbed a whopping 49%, from 32.1 to 47.7 new daily cases per 100,000 people.

But the week’s biggest mover was Wisconsin, whose caseload jumped an astonishing 146% — from 16.9 to 41.5 new daily cases per 100,000 people — enough to vault it into second position in the country.

Alarmingly, the average number of new daily cases is rising in most high-risk states: up 28% in South Dakota; up 66% in Arkansas; up 23% in Missouri and Oklahoma; and up 14% in Iowa.

The numbers are climbing fast across the Midwest.

Twenty-seven states are colored orange on the map, which signifies they have 10 or more new daily positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average. These states are experiencing an “accelerated spread” of Covid-19, with “stay-at-home orders and/or test and trace programs advised,” according to the Harvard and Brown researchers.

States labeled yellow on the map are not in the clear. Yellow means there is between one and nine new cases of Covid-19 each day per 100,000 people, which still signifies community spread.

Only Vermont is in the green zone, which means fewer than one new daily case per 100,000 people. That signifies that the disease is “on track for containment.”

By Suzanne Rowan Kelleher

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