On Election Day, Here Are the States Worst Affected by COVID

Millions of Americans are expected to vote in the 2020 presidential election today as the coronavirus continues to spread through the country, with Midwestern and Western States hit particularly hard.

The states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Nebraska and Illinois, are currently the worst affected in terms of the daily average number of cases per 100,000 residents recorded in the past week, according to The New York Times COVID tracker. These are also the locations where the rates of new cases have gotten higher in the past seven days, and are staying high.

Wisconsin is among the key battleground states that President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will be hoping to claim in order to win the election. Already, the number of votes cast early in the swing state has surpassed the total 2016 turnout by 60 percent, as people try to avoid in-person voting during the pandemic. In 2016, Trump turned the state red with fewer than 23,000 votes.

Areas of the Midwest and West have emerged as the country's latest COVID-19 hotspots, after the virus first devastated the Northeast in the spring, and parts of the South and West in the summer.

The table below shows the total number of coronavirus cases in currently worst affected states, and the daily average number of cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days, according to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker.

StateTotal casesNew cases daily avg. in
past 7 days per 100,000
North Dakota46,020145.7
South Dakota47,850130.9
Wisconsin244,97480.6
Montana34,31776.7
Iowa132,51676.7
Wyoming14,16766.4
Nebraska72,63160
Illinois431,28152.1

Like it has done for months, the U.S. leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths, as shown in the Statista graphic below. Cases are at over 9.2 million of the total 46.8 million infections worldwide. Over 231,000 people have died, of a total 1.2 million. That's more American fatalities than in the Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and World War I conflicts combined.

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A graph showing the countries with the most known COVID-19 cases, as of November 2. Statista

President Donald Trump, whom voters will partly judge on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, has repeatedly claimed that the country is rounding the turn on COVID-19 in recent weeks. Earlier this year, he admitted to downplaying the U.S. outbreak in order to avoid causing panic.

However, the U.S. has broken records for cases in recent days, including on Friday when it reported the most diagnoses in a single day for any country, at 99,321.

On Monday, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned in a report that the country is "entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic... leading to increasing mortality," The Washington Post reported.

Birx called for "much more aggressive action" from the Trump administration and predicted the country may record more than 100,000 new cases this week. A White House official confirmed the contents of the report to The New York Times.

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

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A stock image shows a person casting a ballot while wearing a mask. The coronavirus is raging in the U.S., as people turn out to vote in the 2020 election. Getty