SALT LAKE CITY — It’s clear Utah — and the U.S. — aren’t alone when it comes to the recent rapid rise of COVID-19, which has befuddled countries for nearly a year since scientists discovered it.
The Utah health department reported 2,150 new cases across the Beehive State on Friday but officials also said a data error meant the numbers were artificially low. It came a day after the state reported a record near-4,000 new cases. As Utah developments continue to unfold, new record counts and restrictions were announced in other states.
Here’s what’s happening outside of Utah.
Where COVID-19 is spreading in the U.S.
The Upper Midwest continues to house the most COVID-19 cases per capita, per Centers for Disease Control data, but the states surrounding the region aren’t far behind.
North Dakota, with 169.2 cases per 100,000 people, leads the nation in per capita cases over the past week, the agency reports through early Friday afternoon. It’s followed by South Dakota (154.9), Iowa (135.2), Wyoming (125.4) and Wisconsin (113). Nebraska, at 107.7 cases per 100,000 over the last seven days, was the only other state the CDC listed in its highest case count map.
But 11 states in the remaining Midwest and Intermountain West, including Utah, are listed in the second-highest case amount tier. In fact, Utah was listed as ninth overall with 87.4 cases per 100,000. Alaska, Georgia and Rhode Island are among the U.S. states not near the region in the second tier.
Utah isn’t alone in reporting record new COVID-19 cases this week. In fact, Colorado, on Friday, reported a record 6,439 cases, according to 9News in Denver. Much like Utah, the state’s rise in new cases began in September. The positivity rate — positive cases divided by the number of people tested — is now at 12%, which is the highest it’s been there since May.
Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center reported over 150,000 new cases and 900 deaths in the country in its latest daily report, issued Friday. It also reported a national daily seven-day running average positivity rate of 9.1% — the highest that figure has been since mid-May. About 10.7 million Americans have been infected and over 244,000 have died due to complications of the coronavirus since the pandemic began, the university reported Friday.
It also reported hot spots all across the country where new COVID-19 cases are rising. Some of the glaring spots were Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver but also Utah’s Wasatch Front. Areas along the northeastern seaboard and southern Florida also showed recent growth.
In case you wondered, Hawaii is currently the state with the lowest COVID-19 per capita rate over the past week. The Aloha State reported 700 new cases over the past seven days, or a rate of about 7 cases per 100,000 people. It was followed by Vermont (7.9), Maine (12.8) and California (17). The CDC breaks off New York City from New York State in its data but listed the city, at 16.3 cases per 100,000 people, which would make the Top 5 if it were a state.
Oregon announces temporary shutdown; Pacific Coast states enact travel advisories
Extensive orders went into place across the Pacific West as COVID-19 upticks are again happening. No announcement this week was bigger than Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announcing the state would begin a “freeze” over a two-week span.
The Oregonian reported that all gyms will be closed, while all the state’s bars and restaurants will be limited to takeout only beginning Wednesday and running through Dec. 2. Indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to no more than six people from two different households.
The state also plans to limit the number of people in grocery stores and pharmacies, and allow a maximum indoor capacity of 25 people at places of worship. The number of COVID-19 cases in Oregon was reported at 1,109 new cases on Thursday, which is double what it had reported Oct. 23 — at the beginning of a rise in cases there.
Earlier Friday, Brown joined California and Washington Govs. Gavin Newsom and Jay Inslee in issuing new travel advisories for the three Pacific Coast states. The advisories request people traveling to those states to quarantine for 14 days and also asks residents to refrain from traveling out of state, unless for business, health or security reasons.
While not as strict as some others, the states joined Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont with at least some form of travel restrictions for people coming in, according to the New York Times.
The strictness of the standards varies on the state and some states’ guidelines only pertain to travelers from certain high-risk states. Some cities, like Chicago, have their own travel restrictions that are different from the rest of the state.
What about the rest of the world?
As KSL.com pointed out in an article earlier this month, COVID-19 is far from over everywhere around the globe. In fact, many European countries enacted new measures meant to curtail new cases.
The U.S. still leads the world in daily new coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Friday report. It was followed by India, Italy, Brazil and the United Kingdom. All four countries experienced 33,000 to 45,000 new cases over the previous day.
Much like the U.S. has Thanksgiving, big holidays are coming up elsewhere in the world. In India’s case, there are worries that Diwali celebrations this weekend will lead to another uptick in cases after the country experienced a recent decline in cases, CNN reported. The five-day celebration is traditionally marked with gatherings and even shopping.
“Everywhere it is splashed that cases are increasing but despite that people are throwing caution to the wind and shopping. I won’t be surprised if cases rise across India,” Arvind Kumar, the founder and managing trustee of the nonprofit Lung Care Foundation, told the news outlet.
Over 63.8 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide with 1.3 million deaths tied to the coronavirus since the outbreak was first reported, per Johns Hopkins University’s data. The recent upticks in India and Europe are a reminder that the pandemic continues to provide problems across the globe and will likely continue to until the COVID-19 vaccine is administered on a wide scale and works as well as health experts hope it will.