As the Covid surge fueled by the Omicron variant appears to be nearing its peak in many eastern states, the virus has begun heading west, hitting elsewhere in the country. Oregon, Utah and Alaska now lead the nation in growth in Covid cases over the past two weeks, ending a long stretch of states along the east coast like New York , with New Jersey, South Carolina and Vermont leading the country.
Cases are also rising in all 50 states and have more than doubled in the past two weeks in 43 states. The nationwide daily case average hit a record 786,416 today and 1,822 deaths each day – the highest total since October.
Oregon is leading the way, seeing a 486% increase in cases over the past two weeks, with up to 181 out of 100,000 residents now testing positive for the virus daily.
In Utah, cases have risen 468% in the past 14 days, with 279 out of 100,000 residents in Beehive State recording infections daily.
The distance between Alaska and the rest of the nation and the difference in climate often cause the state to experience different trends than other parts of America. At the moment, however, it is tracking many more on the west coast, with cases up 443% in the past two weeks – with 197 out of 100,000 residents infected daily.
Other states in the region have also seen strong surges in the past two weeks. Cases have more than tripled in every U.S. state west of the Mississippi River — excluding Missouri and Kansas — over the past two weeks, showing a clear trend as the virus outbreak grows.
Sharp increases among western states come as surges experienced on the east coast begin to recede. New York, which saw a tenfold increase in cases when Omicron arrived in December, is now seeing just a 69% increase in the past two weeks.
Neighboring New Jersey has also seen a massive increase in cases – seven times higher when Omicron first landed in December, but the rise in cases has also since declined in Garden State. Over the past 14 days, cases have increased 67% in New Jersey.
Both states are still among the national leaders in infection rates, another sign that they are at the peak of their respective Omicron outbreaks.
In New York, 363 out of 100,000 residents test positive every day, putting the state where 73% of residents are fully vaccinated second in the nation. New Jersey, which has a 71% vaccination rate, is recording 328 infections per 100,000 people per day, fourth in America.
Rhode Island is the national leader in infection rates, by far. The 505 daily cases per 100,000 people far exceed all other US states. The recent surge is particularly concerning because of the high vaccination rate, with 78% of residents fully vaccinated — tied with Vermont for the highest rate in America.
Cases in the state have more than tripled in the past two weeks, up 276% over 14 days.
Three other states are also averaging a daily infection rate of more than 300 cases per 100,000 people. Massachusetts, third in the nation with 345; Delaware, fifth with 308; and Florida, sixth with 305. The six states reaching this level of infections have vaccination rates of 64% or higher, exceeding the national rate of 63%.
Infection rates in many western states have not reached the level of northeastern states even amid the surge in cases.
In Idaho, for example, cases have increased by 215% in the past two weeks, but only 81 out of 100,000 residents test positive for the virus daily. Montana is similar, with a 364% increase, but only 103 out of 100,000 residents are testing positive. Wyoming, Iowa and Nebraska are in similar situations. Each of these states also has large rural populations and is not as densely populated as many of its peers.
Maine currently has the lowest infection rate, with 74 out of 100,000 residents testing positive daily, as the northeastern tip state of the US manages to get its virus situation under control despite chaos in the states surrounding.
South Carolina was the national leader in case growth earlier this week, posting increases of more than 800% at times. The state has seen a decline in case growth, as have others, with the growth rate dropping to 440% as of Thursday afternoon. While Palmetto State is still fourth in the United States in two-week case change, the number is rapidly declining.
Case growth rates are still high for much 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 those states still hasn’t reached the level of New York, New Jersey and other leaders either, meaning there could still be some time before cases peak. .
Indiana still holds the dubious honor of having America’s highest Covid death rate and is one of five states with more than one death per 100,000 population on Thursday. Hoosier State is experiencing 1.57 deaths per 100,000 population per day.
Next is Delaware, with 1.11 in every 100,000 people dying from the virus daily, and Pennsylvania, at 1.11.
Michigan moved back above one death per 100,000 population – hitting 1.08 on Thursday – and Maryland also hit the mark despite a recent decline in case growth.