U.S. Covid Recovery Spreads As Prospects Improve In 47 States


By Jonathan Levin

The U.S. recovery from the latest Covid-19 wave is taking hold across the country, with cases dropping or poised to start falling in the vast majority of states.

In 47 states plus the nation’s capital, a measure of average new infections from one newly infected person is below the key level of 1, signaling that cases are expected to decline, according to covidestim, a modeling project with contributers from Yale School of Public Health, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Stanford Medicine.

That measure, known as the effective reproduction number or Rt, was below 1 in 42 states and the capital a week ago; a month ago it was just nine. Meanwhile, the seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. was 110,232 as of Sept. 27, down from more than 160,000 at the start of September, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

That’s not to say that states aren’t still suffering. Even as infections appear to be slowing and even ebbing, some areas are still managing crisis-level situations in their intensive-care units. Covid-strained hospitals appeared to be most concentrated in parts of the Rocky Mountain West -- Idaho, Wyoming and Montana -- plus Georgia and West Virginia, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

And although the latest wave appears to have peaked, that doesn’t mean the pandemic itself has. The U.S. faces many unknowns -- including how much vaccine-induced protection against hospitalization holds up and the prospect of new variants -- as it heads into the traditional winter virus season.

Currently, there’s a clear urban-rural divide, with the rate of newly-reported Covid deaths running about 76% higher for rural counties than urban ones, according to CDC data. That had echoes of the U.S.’s 2020 autumn season, when Covid had a particularly bad run in rural America, led by the Dakotas.


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