It’s happening again: COVID cases are rising and hospitals are filling up, as states, particularly those with low vaccination rates, are being ravaged by the “highly transmissible” Delta variant. Which states are being hit the hardest? These 8 states have the highest number of cases per 100,000 people, according to a New York Times analysis—and for further proof of tragedy, their hospitals are overflowing as well. Read on to see which starters are on the list (we’ve listed them from the #8 worst to the #1 absolute worst)—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
51 cases per 100,000 inhabitants
“The latest surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations this summer is having a deepening effect in Texas, a state that has seen its leadership rebuke steps such as mandatory mask wearing, yet now faces hospitals stretched to capacity with sick patients,” reports CNN. “And amid both the crises at health care facilities as well as court battles raging over the legality of safety measures in schools, recent news of Gov. Greg Abbott’s positive test for Covid-19 has punctuated messaging from health officials that Texans need to remain vigilant during the pandemic. The state’s Department of State Health Services said Texas is in ‘one of its worst fights’ it has faced with Covid-19, and mortuary trailers were requested this month as a preparatory maneuver.”
60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants
“Kentucky’s battle against COVID-19 took another grim turn Wednesday, with a record number of virus patients being treated in hospital intensive care units as the governor warned that the unvaccinated are in ‘more danger’ of serious illness than at any time in their lives,” reports the AP. “The state’s hospitals are filling up as the delta variant accelerates the coronavirus outbreak, and every ‘staffable bed’ could be in use within a week and a half, Gov. Andy Beshear said. The Democratic governor reported 3,576 new COVID-19 cases statewide, with the 10-19 age group making up the largest share of new infections. It reflects his recent warnings that the highly contagious variant is infecting higher numbers of young people.”
66 cases per 100,000 inhabitants
“Nearly twice as many children are contracting COVID-19 in South Carolina than they did at the height of the pandemic, according to data released by the Department of Health and Environmental Control,” reports Bakersfield.com. “The agency announced 3,376 new coronavirus cases across the state on Wednesday. Data shows that at least 12% of Wednesday’s new cases were children ages 10 and younger who are unable to get vaccinated. That’s more than double the rate of children contracting the virus at the height of the pandemic between December and February.”
73 cases per 100,000 inhabitants
“Governor Asa Hutchinson reported that Arkansas saw a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on Thursday while also noting a slowing of vaccinations in the state. New data from the Arkansas Department of Health shows 3,549 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, the largest single-day increase since January 6 of this year,” reports KARK. “The increase in cases pushed the state’s total case count to 429,110 and jumped the active case count to 24,787. So far for the month of August Arkansas has seen 42,648 new COVID-19 cases.”
74 cases per 100,000 inhabitants
“Alabama has requested staff and resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an ongoing COVID-19 wave threatens to overwhelm the state’s health care capacity,” reports the Montgomery Advertiser. “Critically ill patients in the state this week outnumbered the total number of staffed ICU beds available, with a major surge in south Alabama pushing hospitals to their limits. The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed this week it requested federal aid, with at least one rural Alabama hospital requesting FEMA staff to help run patient units.” “Our hospital is packed. Our ICU beds have been full for two weeks at least,” said Douglas Brewer, CEO at Whitfield Regional Hospital in rural Demopolis, Alabama.
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115 cases per 100,000 inhabitants
“As of Thursday, only seven ICU beds were available in the state, and 96 patients needed them, according to the state Department of Health,” reports NBC News. “Nasal cannulas are brought out to waiting rooms to deliver urgently needed oxygen. Patients spill into hallways. Parents of children like Donovan try to remain strong as their child who was just attending school a week ago receives steroids and shots meant to prevent blood clots administered to his stomach. Nurses, like Lancaster, labor under layers of protective equipment as they struggle to turn heavily sedated patients facedown in hopes of expanding their lungs. For weeks this spring, a steep drop in Covid cases and hospitalizations statewide seemed to defy Mississippi’s standing as one of the least-vaccinated states in the nation.”
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116 cases per 100,000 inhabitants
“In Louisiana, the COVID-19 crisis is leaving hospitals teetering on the edge of collapse,” reports ABC News. “The state currently has the nation’s highest case rate, and hospitalization levels — more than 3,000 at last count — are stretching the health system to a breaking point with patients overwhelming intensive care units and staffing in short supply.” “Our volume, over the past couple of weeks, has been outrageously high,” Dr. Jon Michael Cuba, service line chairman for emergency medicine at Ochsner Health in Baton Rouge, told ABC News. “There has been a ton, a ton of COVID. We are built to deal with this, but with this surge, there is a lack of nurses, a lack of beds and it’s hard to get enough physicians to see the onslaught of patients that are coming in.”
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123 cases per 100,000 inhabitants
Cases are rising statewide but one city in particular is the epicenter: “As quickly as one COVID patient is discharged, another waits for a bed in northeast Florida, the hot zone of the state’s latest surge. But the patients at Baptist Health’s five hospitals across Jacksonville are younger and getting sick from the virus faster than people did last summer,” reports the AP. “Baptist has over 500 COVID patients, more than twice the number they had at the peak of Florida’s July 2020 surge, and the onslaught isn’t letting up. Hospital officials are anxiously monitoring 10 forecast models, converting empty spaces, adding over 100 beds and ‘bracing for the worst,’ said Dr. Timothy Groover, the hospitals’ interim chief medical officer.” “Jacksonville is kind of the epicenter of this. They had one of the lowest vaccination rates going into July and that has probably really came back to bite them,” Justin Senior, CEO of the Florida Safety Net Hospital Alliance, told the newswire. So get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.