Omicron heads west: Oregon, Alaska and Utah now lead the US in growth

As the Omicron variant-fueled wave of Covid appears to be nearing its peak in many eastern states, the virus is beginning to move west and is spreading across the country. Oregon, Utah and Alaska now lead the nation in the growth of Covid cases over the past two weeks, ending a long period of East Coast states like New York, New Jersey, South Carolina and Vermont leading the nation. .

Cases are also on the rise in all 50 states and have more than doubled in 43 states in the past two weeks. The national daily average today reached a record 786,416 and 1,822 deaths per day – the highest number since October.

Oregon leads the way, with a 486 percent increase in cases in the past two weeks, to 181 of every 100,000 residents now testing positive for the virus daily.

In Utah, cases are up 468 percent in the past 14 days, with 279 of every 100,000 residents in the state of Beehive registering infections on a daily basis.

The distance between Alaska and the rest of the nation, and the difference in climate, often leads the state to experience different trends than other parts of America. At the moment, however, it is following many others on the West Coast, with a rise of 443 percent in the past two weeks – with 197 out of every 100,000 residents being infected on a daily basis.

Other states in the region have also experienced major spikes in the past two weeks. In every US state west of the Mississippi — excluding Missouri and Kansas — cases have more than tripled in the past two weeks, showing a clear trend as the virus wave expands.

Big ups and downs in the western states come when the peaks on the eastern coast begin to subside. New York, which saw a 10-fold increase in cases when Omicron first arrived in December, now records a two-week increase of just 69 percent.

Neighboring New Jersey also experienced a massive surge in cases — jumping sevenfold when Omicron first landed in December, but the rising number of cases has since dwindled in Garden state as well. In the past 14 days, the number of cases in New Jersey has increased by 67 percent.

The two states still rank among the nationwide leaders in infection rates, another sign that they are at the peak of their respective Omicron outbreaks.

In New York, 363 of every 100,000 residents test positive every day, making the state where 73 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, the second in the nation. New Jersey, which has a 71 percent vaccination rate, records 328 infections daily for every 100,000 residents, the fourth in America.

Rhode Island is the nationwide leader in infection rates, and by a large margin. The 505 daily cases per 100,000 population surpass every other US state by a large margin. The recent rise is especially concerning because of high vaccination rates, with 78 percent of residents fully vaccinated — tied with Vermont for the highest rate in America.

The number of cases in the state has more than tripled in the past two weeks, up 276 percent in 14 days.

Three other states also have an average daily infection rate of more than 300 cases for every 100,000 residents. Massachusetts, third in the nation with 345; Delaware, fifth with 308; and Florida, sixth with 305. All six states that reach that level of infections have vaccination rates of 64 percent or higher, surpassing the national rate of 63 percent.

The infection rate in many western states has not come anywhere near the level of states in the Northeast, even amid the increase in cases.

In Idaho, for example, cases are up 215 percent in the past two weeks, but only 81 of every 100,000 residents test positive for the virus daily. Montana is similar, with a 364 percent increase, but only 103 of every 100,000 residents test positive. Wyoming, Iowa and Nebraska are in similar situations. Each of these states also has a large rural population and is not as densely populated as many of their peers.

Maine currently has the lowest infection rate, with 74 of every 100,000 residents testing positive daily as the state at America’s northeast tip manages to keep its virus situation under control despite the chaos in surrounding states.

South Carolina was the nationwide leader in growth earlier this week, with increases of more than 800 percent in some areas. The state has experienced declining growth, like others, with the growth rate dropping to 440 percent as of Thursday afternoon. While the state of Palmetto still ranks fourth in the US in a two-week case change, the figure is declining rapidly.

Case growth is still high for much of the region. Mississippi, Alabama and North Carolina have all seen more than tripled daily cases in the past two weeks. The infection rate in these states still hasn’t reached the levels of New York, New Jersey and other leaders, meaning it could be some time before cases peak.

Indiana still holds the dubious honor of posting America’s highest Covid death rate, and is one of five states to have more than one death per 100,000 residents as of Thursday. Hoosier state suffers 1.57 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants every day.

Shortly after, Delaware, with 1.11 of every 100,000 residents who die daily from the virus, and Pennsylvania, with 1.11.

Michigan has crawled back to above one death per 100,000 residents — hitting 1.08 Thursday — and Maryland has also hit the target, despite a recent winding down just in case growth.