The US country average has increased since mid September from roughly 100 per million per day on September 14th to end the month at 130 per million per day. That’s obviously a 30% increase in a 2 week period.
What’s surprising is that without the East coast and West coast pulling down the average – the US numbers would be a lot worse.
Here’s a look at a map of the US – showing new cases per million by state. Take a look at the white areas of the map (those with lowest levels of community transmission). Predominantly coastal – plus some of the hardest hit areas during the 1st wave – Arizona etc.
So lets now focus on those pulling up the US average – and putting them in the context of other global countries. We acknowledge that Argentina (and most of South America) is having a very tough time of COVID. Well seven US states are worse than Argentina. Another 8 are worse than Spain.
The current global leader in new cases is Israel – at over 540 new cases per million per day. Context – Israel has 9 million people. North Dakota exceeds Israel.
We are fortunate that the a smaller percentage of people who get COVID today ultimately die from it, when compared with 6 months ago. That said – the levels in these states are unsustainably high – and deeply concerning.
Not surprisingly, fatalities lag cases, but we can begin to see increased death rates in these states. North Dakota is currently leading the country – with 8 deaths per million per day.
At a pivotal crossroads
My own feeling is that we are at a critical crossroads. Return to school here at my daughter’s school in Tennessee has been handled exceptionally well. All kids need to wear masks for the whole day. I exceptionally grateful for the professionalism of the teachers and staff who make this possible.
Getting kids back to school enables workers to get back to work – and provides kids with the best educational and social development environment. Thus far the COVID aspect of that has been handled very well in my own personal experience.
But when states start to see the community transmission rates go through the roof (as in those listed above), this threatens to derail the tentative sense of ‘almost normal’ we have reached. Reckless lifting of restrictions threatens to send us all backwards.
It was a hard decision to send my daughter back to school when new cases were 100 per million per day in Davidson County; it would be an easy decision to NOT return to in person teaching in counties with transmission rates 3x that.
We all have a social responsibility to reduce the spread in our communities and across America. If we fail to do that – the repercussions are inevitably bad. We all need to realize what is a good standard for COVID (think NY, Arizona, California, Washington, Oregon). The 15 states listed here are way off the mark,