These 9 States Are Seeing the Worst COVID Surges Right Now


The U.S. marked two grim milestones on Dec. 13 when it surpassed both the 50 million mark in all-time reported COVID-19 cases and 800,000 reported deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the national infection daily case average remains high after a month-long increase propelled it back to levels not seen since September. Meanwhile, experts over the weekend pointed out that some states are seeing worse COVID surges than others as winter approaches and people gather indoors in increasing numbers.

After hovering for a week, the national daily COVID-19 case average stood at 120,056 as of Dec. 13, according to data from The New York Times. However, the figure also represents a 49 percent increase from two weeks ago, with hospitalizations and deaths from the virus rising 22 percent and 40 percent over the same period, respectively.

During an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation on Dec. 12, Scott Gottlieb, MD, former Food & Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, spoke about the current state of the pandemic. “Through most parts of this country right now, we’re at about 36 cases per 100,000 people per day. To put that in perspective, about six weeks ago, we were at 20,” he said, adding that certain states should consider bringing back mask mandates to stem the rise in infections.

“Most of the country is through the Delta wave, and the reason why you’re seeing cases go up so much right now is in part driven by the dense epidemics in these very populated states,” he explained. “But also, you’re seeing some uptick even in states that have gotten through their Delta wave, in part because people are moving indoors because of the colder weather and the holidays.”

Read on to see which states have experienced COVID surges of more than 15 percent over the past week as of Dec. 14, according to data from The Washington Post.

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city skyline and the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at dusk
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 67 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 16 percent

As COVID-19 cases rise in Pennsylvania, hospitalizations are also increasing in their wake. Data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health shows that the statewide average of 3,900 hospitalized people per day reported over the past two weeks has gone up 50 percent over the past month. The spike has placed a strain on the state’s healthcare system.

“The relatively high rate of hospitalization in the state is almost completely a function of the fact that 40 percent of the population is unvaccinated,” Amesh Adalja, MD, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and a Pittsburgh-based infectious disease physician, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “This can be very problematic, as hospitalization rates in rural counties, where vaccination rates are lower than the average, are not sustainable.”

Sunny Isles Beach Florida
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 10 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 17 percent

On Dec. 13, Florida reported 3,865 new COVID-19 cases and 66 new deaths, bringing the average to 2,106 per day over the past week, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data by the Miami Herald. This puts the weekly average at its highest point since Oct. 21.

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The skyline of Jackson, Mississippi at sunset
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 16 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 18 percent

After coming down from a summer high, COVID cases in Mississippi are beginning to trend upwards again. The state’s average daily case average has jumped 99 percent in the past two weeks, while hospitalizations have increased 17 percent to an average of 264 per day, according to data from The Times.

New Jersey, Jersey City skyline
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 50 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 18 percent

Last week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reported that it was “quite obvious” the state’s most recent surge was a post-Thanksgiving spike. On Monday, he announced that hospitalizations had lept 25 percent in less than a week to a total of 1,650 patients.

“Looking at numbers from hospitals, latest data tells us that the hospitalization rate among unvaccinated is more than six times of vaccinated individuals,” Murphy reported.

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The skyline of Madison, Wisconsin from the lake at dusk
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 88 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 22 percent

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the state’s rolling average increased over the past weekend to 3,457 cases over the past seven days. A positive test rate of 11.7 percent was also reported for the same period.

Skyline of Honolulu, Hawaii, looking inland
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 10 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 25 percent

The most recent surge in COVID cases in Hawaii represents a 60 percent jump over the past two weeks, according to data from The Times. However, the state’s positive test rate remains relatively low at 1.7 percent, according to COVID Act Now.

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townhouses and building behind a lake in Portland, Maine
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 73 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 49 percent

After struggling with rising case counts for weeks, Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced that the state would be deploying 38 members of the Maine National Guard to help ease the burden on the strained hospitals, The Portland Press Herald reported. The members will be sent to 10 health care centers across the state.

“We will continue to work closely with our health care and federal partners to monitor the capacity of our system and to take action when and where it is needed in order to support Maine people,” Mills said in a statement. “Ultimately, the best and most effective way to relieve the burden on our heroic health care workers is to heed their advice: get vaccinated.”

Hartford is the capital of the U.S. state of Connecticut. Hartford is known for its attractive architectural styles and being the Insurance capital of the United States
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 66 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 66 percent

The trajectory of the pandemic has taken a grim turn in Connecticut. Over the past 14 days, the state has seen its daily case average rise by 185 percent while hospitalizations have spiked 77 percent to a daily average of 637 over the same period, according to data from The Times.

city skyline of Austin, Texas at sunset
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  • New cases in the last seven days: 23 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 122 percent

The meteoric rise of COVID cases in Texas has made it the state with the most explosive surge over the past week. The Lone Star State has seen death spike 25 percent to a two-week daily average of 59 and hospitalizations rise six percent to an average of 3,639, according to data from The Times.

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