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Top 5 worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S.

Cases in the U.S. are rising and new epicenters are emerging. Where are outbreaks the worst?

Florida’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are again increasing, ending months of steady decline.
Mary Quevtier gets a COVID-19 test Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Miami. What states are having the worst COVID-19 outbreaks?
Marta Lavandier, Associated Press

Last week, coronavirus cases rose dramatically across the U.S., reported Axios. Nationwide, new daily COVID-19 cases saw a 55% increase and 46 states saw cases increase this week.

  • The highly contagious delta variant has driven the recent surge in cases, per Axios.
  • Areas of low vaccinations and unvaccinated counties are suffering the most in the recent surges, reported CNN.

Based on the number of infections per 100,000 people, these states are currently experiencing the worst outbreaks in the country.

5. Nevada’s COVID-19 outbreaks

Some of Nevada’s counties have been labeled hotspots by the White House. The state has seen a massive jump in cases, reported CNN. In mid-June, Nevada had 178 weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations. This week, the state had more than 900 hospitalizations.

  • Last week, Nevada's rate of infections reached 27 cases per 100,000 people, according to data from The New York Times.
  • Infections in Nevada have surged by nearly 200% as the state sees its highest number of cases since February, reported ABC News.

Nevada’s outbreaks have gotten so bad that health officials in Los Angeles County in California warned its residents about traveling to the state, reported the Deseret News.

“Basically, we’re reliving 2020 in 2021,” said Dr. Angie Honsberg, medical director at University Medical Center, per ABC News.

4. Missouri’s COVID-19 outbreaks

Missouri's current coronavirus outbreak is tied to the delta variant, per The Kansas City Star. The state reported its highest case numbers since mid-January as hospitals begin to strain under the renewed outbreaks.

  • Last week, Missouri’s rate of infections reached 36 cases per 100,000 people, according to data from The New York Times.
  • Missouri is average more than 2,100 new daily cases, reported The New York Times.

So far in July, Missouri has reported more than 33,600 new COVID-19 cases — 75% more than all of June, reported The Kansas City Star. The state’s outbreaks have gotten so bad that Chicago has begun urging any unvaccinated people who visited Missouri to quarantine upon arriving in Illinois.

3. Florida’s COVID-19 outbreaks

Florida has reported a substantial uptick in coronavirus cases with about 20% of new cases in the U.S. coming from Florida, reported The Miami Herald. Hospitals in the state have seen a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and have begun preparing for another surge.

  • Last week, Florida’s rate of infections reached 38 cases per 100,000 people, according to data from The New York Times.
  • Florida is now averaging more than 8,100 new daily cases, reported The New York Times.

The surge in Florida is driven by a dangerous combination of hot, wet weather that drives people indoors, unvaccinated people not wearing masks and the now-dominant delta variant, reported The Miami Herald.

2. Arkansas’ COVID-19 outbreaks

Delta variant-driven outbreaks in Arkansas have upended unvaccinated communities, in particular, reported The New York Times. The state has seen a massive influx in patients as cases begin to rise again.

  • Last week, Arkansas’ rate of infections reached 39 cases per 100,000 people, according to data from The New York Times.
  • Hospitalizations have quadrupled since mid-May with more than a third of patients in intensive care, reported The New York Times.

Arkansas’ vaccination rate ranks near the bottom of all states. Health officials expect to see a rising number of COVID-19-related deaths in the coming weeks, per The New York Times.

1 . Louisiana’s COVID-19 outbreaks

Health officials have been warning for weeks that Louisiana’s “abysmal COVID vaccination rate would lead to a surge in infections, hospitalizations and death,” according to The Advocate. With the delta variant spreading, that feared surge has come.

  • Last week, Louisiana’s rate of infections reached 43 cases per 100,000 people, according to data from The New York Times.
  • Louisiana currently has the highest number of cases per capita, per The New York Times.

About two-thirds of Louisiana’s population remains unvaccinated, reported The Advocate. The lack of vaccinations has allowed new variants to spread quickly.

  • Hospitalizations in Louisiana have increased by more than 400% over the last week, reported Nola, a local news outlet in New Orleans.
  • Over the last week, the state has seen its largest weekly increase since the first months of the pandemic, per Nola.

“These numbers aren’t just numbers,” said Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, an infectious disease specialist at Ochsner Health, per The Advocate. “These are individuals that have been loved and that are missed.”

  • “We could have prevented this,” she said. “We should have prevented this through vaccinations.”