Travel Warning: Americans From 34 States Should Stay Home, Per Harvard’s COVID-19 Tracking Site
Americans from 34 states — a full two-thirds of the country — should not be traveling, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute’s risk-assessment map.
These latest figures jibe with mounting evidence from Policylab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) that interstate travel is contributing to the spread of COVID-19 along major US travel corridors.
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Harvard Global Health Institute’s interactive color-coded map shows how dangerously widespread the novel coronavirus is across the United States. The tool allows you to view the incidence of infection at both the state and county level.
Each state has a rating of green, yellow, orange or red, based upon the number of new daily positive cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average. States colored red or orange are above the threshold for allowing non-essential travel, according to Harvard’s researchers.
Since July 4th, the number of red-colored states has jumped from four to 13. Based on data from site’s last update on Monday, July 27, this huge swath of states — Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, Tennessee, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Idaho, Arkansas and Oklahoma — currently have 25 or more new positive COVID-19 cases every day per 100,000 people. These red-colored states are “at a tipping point” and should be under stay-at-home orders, according to the Harvard researchers.
Equally alarming, the number of orange-colored states on HGHI’s map has jumped 62% in less than two weeks. Orange signifies 10 or more new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 people, based on a seven-day rolling average. At that level, there is an “accelerated spread” of COVID-19, with “stay-at-home orders and/or test and trace programs advised,” according to the HGHI researchers.
The remaining 16 states that are colored yellow on the map are not out of the woods, according to the HGHI. Yellow signifies between one and nine new daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, which means there is community spread.
Five months into the pandemic, there are no green states on the map. That means no state is “on track for containment of COVID-19,” as defined by Harvard. The two states that come closest are Vermont and Maine, which have incidence rates of just 1.1% and 1.6%, respectively.
All across the country, the COVID-19 infection rate numbers are climbing at a rate that concerns health experts.
Last week, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told a group of state and local health officials that she was concerned about spikes in 12 cities across the country. “We have new increases in Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Jose, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Baltimore,” said Birx, per audio obtained by the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity. “When you first see that increased test positivity, that is when to start the mitigation efforts.”
There is now also a growing concern that the virus may return to the Northeast, which has successfully curtailed the spread of COVID-19 after being ravaged by the disease in March and April.
“The high cases in the South and the West are now spreading northward,” said Dr. Gregory Tasian, a lead researcher at PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “In the absence of a national policy, the spread of the disease from one state, one county or one area to another is inevitable. What we’re seeing speaks to the necessity of a national policy.”
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