Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty COVID-19 testing
New COVID-19 infections are rising across the U.S., but nearly half of cases are coming from just five states — Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Over the last week, there were 453,360 new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and those five states accounted for more than 196,400 of them, or 43%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, compiled by CNN.
Michigan in particular is struggling as it deals with its second-largest surge in cases, comparable to the deadly holiday surge that left hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Cases have increased by 89% over the last two weeks, and deaths have soared by 79%, according to The New York Times. They currently have the most cases per capita in the U.S.
Physicians with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said last week that the rise in cases appears to be from Michiganders abandoning health precautions like social distancing and mask wearing. Young people, particularly those involved in youth sports, also appear to be driving infections, said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, senior public health physician at MDHHS.
"We are especially seeing outbreaks in youth athletics and in high school-age adolescents," she told Fox17. "Some of these seem to be related not to activities on the field, not to transmission on the field or in classrooms but actually to social gatherings and social events that are happening around sports."
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And this is not the time to ease up on COVID-19 precautions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday, as she announced that the faster-spreading B.1.1.7 virus variant first found in the U.K. is now the dominant strain in the U.S.
"Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States," she said at a White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing, NPR reported.
Walensky urged people to continue wearing masks and avoiding spending time indoors with anyone outside of their household, and to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
"The virus still has a hold on us," she said. "We need to remain vigilant."
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