Arizona Has More New COVID-19 Cases Per Capita Than Any Other State

Published: Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 4:13pm
Updated: Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 11:00am
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Arizona is now reporting more new COVID-19 infections per capita than any other state, putting its outbreak among the most severe in the world. 

Arizona’s new cases, new deaths, and test positivity rates have all soared past summer records. December was the state’s deadliest month since the pandemic began. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report Arizona has seen 121 new cases for every 100,000 residents in the past week — a rate nearly double the national average. 

California's rate of infection is a distant second place behind Arizona's, with about 97 cases per per 100,000 residents last week, according to the CDC. 

"Compared to a state like California where they’re in crisis care and ambulances are being turned away from hospitals, we actually have a higher rate per 100,000, and that’s really really scary to me,” said Saskia Popescu, a George Mason University epidemiologist based in Arizona. 

Arizona's health department reports the state's hospital ICU beds are at 92% capacity with more patients on ventilators than ever before. Popescu said that’s worrisome because without any new mitigation measures, the outbreak is likely to continue getting worse in Arizona.

“What I really worry about for Arizona is that unless we start implementing wider intervention efforts at a state level, then we’re going to continue to see cases, and the hospitals and the public health infrastructure will be overwhelmed," she said.  

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