The newest COVID-19 variants, EG.5 and BA.2.86 – also called Eris and Pirola, respectively – may not be as concerning as initially thought, and booster shots should provide protection against them as well as other currently circulating ones, according to new data and reports from experts.
Still, the new variants have been fueling case surges nationwide, leading to renewed masking policies in some places – and certain states are emerging as current hotspots with the fastest viral spread, while others have remained relatively unaffected.
To determine how bad COVID is right now in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on recent COVID-19 hospital admissions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States were ranked based on the number of hospital admissions due to COVID-19 per 100,000 state residents during the week of Aug. 20-26, 2023.
Analysis of CDC data on factors like hospital admissions shows some regional divides. Southern states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, consistently have higher rates of new weekly admissions, total admissions, deaths, and test positivity – as they did the previous week, as well. This suggests a more severe, prolonged pandemic impact in the South.
In contrast, Northeastern and Midwestern states tend to have lower COVID figures currently. Hawaii is an outlier, with the second highest admission rate (it was the highest in the previous week), but lower cumulative hospitalizations and deaths, reflecting effective containment. (These are the states with the most health-conscious residents.)
In terms of total admissions since August 2020, Kentucky has seen the most at 3,438.1 hospitalizations per 100,000 people. Oklahoma, Montana, and West Virginia, also rank among the highest for total admissions.
To determine the states where COVID-19 is the worst right now, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on recent COVID-19 hospital admissions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States were ranked based on the number of hospital admissions due to COVID-19 per 100,000 state residents for the week of Aug. 20-26, 2023. Supplemental data on the total number of recorded COVID-19 hospital admissions since Aug.1, 2020; the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 since January 2020; and the COVID-19 test positivity rate for the week of Aug. 20-26, 2023, also came from the CDC. Population data used to adjust hospital admission and death counts per capita came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates program and is for July 1, 2022.
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