COVID Spread, Fueled by Delta Variant, Accelerating in These U.S. States

The rate of people getting infected with COVID is accelerating in more states than decelerating, a new graph shows.

The graph, by medical news outlet Stat, was made available on Monday and uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Johns Hopkins University, and Our World in Data to calculate the rate of weekly case acceleration per state.

It shows that the spread of COVID is slowing down in about 14 states, including Oklahoma, North Carolina, Florida, California, and Mississippi.

States are seeing cases accelerate if their rate is above zero, and decelerate if the rate is less than zero. In Mississippi, where cases appear to be slowing down significantly, the rate is -2.58.

Cases are also sharply decelerating in Louisiana, though Stat notes that the state is currently recovering from Hurricane Ida and so these figures may be skewed downward.

Elsewhere, cases are accelerating. According to the graph, West Virginia has by far the highest rate of COVID case acceleration in the U.S. with a rate of around 2.69. South Dakota, the state with the second-highest rate of acceleration, has one of 1.68.

North Dakota follows with Ohio, Wyoming, and Montana behind, all displaying an acceleration rate of more than one.

The graph presents an alternative way of seeing how COVID is progressing in the U.S. rather than simply looking at case numbers.

For example, Texas has reported more COVID cases in the past seven days than any other state, with 128,131 cases as of September 4, according to CDC data.

But the state has a relatively low rate of case acceleration at 0.39 according to the Stat graph.

Other states in which COVID cases are accelerating include Hawaii, Alaska, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Meanwhile the U.S. as a whole recently reported 40,000,000 total cases of COVID since the start of the pandemic, according to tallies by The New York Times and NBC News.

As of 3 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning the CDC's count showed less than 40,000,000, but the health agency's case reporting had been paused since Sunday to observe Labor Day. CDC updates are expected to resume some time later on Tuesday.

CDC genomic sequencing data from late August showed that the Delta variant of COVID remains the most dominant in the U.S. by far, accounting for more than 99 percent of sequenced samples in the week ending August 28.

COVID testing
People getting temperature checks whilst waiting for a COVID vaccine in Anaheim, California, in January 2021. The rate of new cases varies widely between states. Mario Tama/Getty