These States Have the Highest Coronavirus Positivity Rate

Novel coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surpassed five million. Mississippi reported the highest average positivity rate (percentage of positive tests among total tests conducted in a given population) over the past seven days at 21.06 percent, according to the latest report Sunday by Johns Hopkins University.

Mississippi was followed by Texas (19.25 percent), Florida (17.47 percent), Alabama (17.34 percent) and Nevada (16.35 percent) among the states reporting the top five highest average positivity rates over the past two weeks.

The average positivity rate increased by one percent or more in at least eight states over the past two weeks, according to the latest report Sunday by Johns Hopkins University.

Washington state reported the greatest increase in its average positivity rate over the past 14 days, rising by 9.6 percent from 5.6 percent reported two weeks ago to 15.2 percent in the past week. Texas recorded the second-highest increase, rising by 6.9 percent from 12.4 percent two weeks ago to 19.3 percent in the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The positivity rate calculated for each state "looks at number of cases divided by number of negative tests plus number of cases. We feel that the ideal way to calculate positivity would be number of people who test positive divided by number of people who are tested," Johns Hopkins University noted.

"We feel this is currently the best way to track positivity because some states include in their testing totals duplicative tests obtained in succession on the same individual, as well as unrelated antibody tests," it added.

Testing data reported by some states may include serology tests (antibody tests) in addition to viral testing. Antibody tests are important for detecting previous infections in people who had few or no symptoms but are not used to detect active novel coronavirus infection.

Johns Hopkins University explained: "When states report testing numbers for COVID-19 infection, they should not include serology or antibody tests. Antibody tests are not used to diagnose active COVID-19 infection and they do not provide insights into the number of cases of COVID-19 diagnosed or whether viral testing is sufficient to find infections that are occurring within each state.

"Currently, states may not be distinguishing overall tests administered from the number of individuals who have been tested. This is an important limitation to the data that is available to track testing in the U.S., and states should work to address it," it added.

Back in May, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments that the positivity rate in a given population should remain at five percent or lower for at least 14 days before reopening.

As of Sunday, the seven-day average of positivity rates recorded in the previous week was reported to be above five percent in 36 states and below five percent in 14 states, according to Johns Hopkins University.

There have been at least 61,792,571 tests done in the U.S., as of Monday. The most number of tests were reported in California, where more than 8.8 million tests have been done, followed by New York (over 6.5 million), Texas (over four million), Florida (over 3.9 million) and Illinois (nearly 3.1 million), according to Johns Hopkins University.

U.S. states with highest average positivity rates (above five percent)

Source: Johns Hopkins University, as of August 9.

  1. Mississippi: 21.06 percent
  2. Texas: 19.25 percent
  3. Florida: 17.47 percent
  4. Alabama: 17.34 percent
  5. Nevada:16.35 percent
  6. Washington: 15.21 percent
  7. Idaho: 15.17 percent
  8. Arizona: 13.42 percent
  9. South Carolina: 13.38 percent
  10. Arkansas: 13.17 percent
  11. Kansas: 11.77 percent
  12. Georgia: 11.60 percent
  13. Missouri: 10.93 percent
  14. Iowa: 9.56 percent
  15. Oklahoma: 9.49 percent
  16. Utah: 9.21 percent
  17. Indiana: 8.82 percent
  18. Virginia: 8.77 percent
  19. Tennessee: 8.69 percent
  20. South Dakota: 8.65 percent
  21. Nebraska: 8.50 percent
  22. North Dakota: 8.10 percent
  23. Oregon: 7.71 percent
  24. Louisiana: 7.66 percent
  25. Kentucky: 7.45 percent
  26. Wyoming: 7.40 percent
  27. Colorado: 6.74 percent
  28. Minnesota: 6.54 percent
  29. Wisconsin: 6.34 percent
  30. Hawaii: 6.28 percent
  31. Rhode Island: 5.99 percent
  32. North Carolina: 5.94 percent
  33. Maryland: 5.78 percent
  34. California: 5.56 percent
  35. Ohio: 5.20 percent
  36. Pennsylvania: 5.12 percent
Miami Lakes, Florida, coronavirus testing, July 2020
A doctor using a nasal swab at a COVID-19 testing site located at the Miami Lakes Youth Center on July 22, 2020 in Miami Lakes, Florida. Getty Images

Over 19.8 million people globally have been infected since the virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, including more than five million in the U.S. More than 12.1 million globally have reportedly recovered from infection, while over 731,500 have died, as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

Spread of COVID-19 U.S.

The graphics below, provided by Statista, illustrate countries with the most COVID-19 cases and a comparison of average new cases in the U.S. and the European Union.

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