The Top 5 States Where Coronavirus Is Spiking—Again

America had not come close to flattening the COVID-19 curve before some states began to reopen on their own timetables—and their own rules. Now we are seeing spikes in roughly half of the country as the nation struggles to cope with balancing public safety with their desires to get back to "normal" for myriad reasons.

While much of Europe is seeing a downward trend in positive COVID-19 tests and fatalities related to the coronavirus, the United States is a mixed bag at best. Some states, generally those that had enforced stricter lockdown rules as well as those not rushing their reopening plans, are faring well. Others, where residents are resistant to prolonged stay-at-home measures and wearing masks, are seeing spikes in coronavirus cases. Indeed, the highest record for new coronavirus cases across the country, 36,000, was reached on June 24, surpassing the previous record of 34,203 set on April 25. Here are the five states where cases are spiking the fastest, as of June 21.


On June 21, Oklahoma set a new record of the number of daily COVID-19 cases, reported ABC News and cases were up 111 percent over the previous week, reports Reuters, after which the state health department urged anyone who had attended a large gathering to get tested. Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city, had just played host to thousands of President Donal Trump’s followers at an indoor rally the day prior. Meanwhile, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a “panel of doctors and public health experts that once convened daily and regularly updated the president on COVID-19, have been relegated to meeting once or twice a week, and their engagement with the president has diminished,” reports CNN.


The next stop on the president’s tour this month is quickly emerging as one of the country’s coronavirus hotspots since Governor Doug Ducey lifted the state’s stay-at-home order back on May 15, says the Mercury News. The paper goes on to note that Arizona has seen a “record increase of more than 3,500 new cases of coronavirus on June 23 as well as record hospitalizations, record patients in intensive care, and a record number of patients on ventilators;” according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projections as of June 24, those numbers will continue to increase through July 17. In an attempt to reassure residents amid the surge in COVID-19 this week, the governor said there is hospital and ventilator capacity in the state but is also on record saying people will have to “learn to live with” coronavirus while simultaneously not making the wearing of masks compulsory, according to Newsweek. As of June 21, rates of coronavirus cases had risen 89.7 percent over the previous week.


As beaches and theme parks opened and saw unmasked crowds gather en masse, Governor Ron DeSantis tried to claim that increased testing has produced the spike in positive test results but experts note that is not likely the case. The original IHME projections originally ended on August 1, then on June 10, the IHME released new projections through October 1, stating, “…rising rates of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are now occurring in the wake of eased or ended distancing policies. It is increasingly clear that COVID-19’s toll will extend beyond the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere.” If masks are not mandated for residents and there are no further shelter-in-place orders, the Sunshine State could see more than 15,000 COVID-19 -related deaths by October 1, the IHME estimates. As of June 21, rates of coronavirus cases had risen 86.8 percent compared to the week prior. Bars and fun nights out seem to be Petri dishes for COVID-19 transmission—find out if you can catch coronavirus from swimming.


Texas reached an all-time daily high of 5,489 new COVID-19 cases on June 22 and hospitals neared capacity in Houston, according to the Guardian, as rates of coronavirus spiked 84.4 percent on June 21 over the week prior. One potential reason for this Texan-sized coronavirus spike is that the Lone Star State was one of the first to reopen. “In the face of criticism that Texas was reopening too quickly, [Governor Greg ] Abbott had insisted the state could contain any new outbreaks,” reports the Guardian, adding, “but the skyrocketing number of cases has prompted Abbott to reverse course, tightening lockdown restrictions a day after declaring that Texas would remain ‘wide open for business.'” As of now, the IHME projects that demand for hospital beds in Texas will continue to rise through at least October 1 and that the state could see close to 14,000 COVID-19 related deaths if the status quo continues.


While St. Louis seems to have gotten a handle on the spread of coronavirus cases, it’s the residents of more rural areas of the state that are now at risk and there was an outbreak of cases at seven long-term care facilities in the Kansas City area. The Show-Me State as a whole saw an uptick in new cases of almost 75 percent on June 21 as compared to the week before. The United States is still in the midst of the initial COVID-19 crisis but this is what a second wave of coronavirus might look like.

For more on this developing situation, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.

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Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award-winning photographer, avid traveler, and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment, and more for Reader's Digest. Jeff has also written for Parents Magazine, Esquire, PBS, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. He is the proud dad of teen daughters. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @OWTK.