• Most of the reporting and analysis focused on the places seeing an increase in coronavirus cases in the US right now covers the usual suspects — states like Florida, California, and Texas.
  • However, there’s one state that might surprise you in terms of specifically where the coronavirus outbreak is spreading the fastest, based on the average number of new cases per 100,000 people over the prior week.
  • Louisiana now has more than 2,300 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents.

In the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, New York had the scariest coronavirus picture and quickly became the epicenter of the crisis in the US. As the Empire State gradually flattened its curve, the attention of and concern from lawmakers and public health experts quickly spread out to emerging coronavirus hotspots around the country that soon displaced New York — states like Florida, California, and Texas. In states like those, cases have spiked to frighteningly high levels and public officials have wrestled with the right mix of mandates to impose to get their outbreaks under control while also dealing with growing exasperation from members of the public who are tired of the rules, tired of the whole thing.

Meanwhile, all of that news coverage and attention has obscured one state that isn’t generally mentioned in the top tier of hotspot states in the US when it comes to the most severe coronavirus outbreaks. Using the latest case counts and map data compiled by The New York Times, however, if you wanted to find out where in the country the coronavirus is spreading the fastest, that search would lead you to one particular state in the South: Louisiana.

That’s because of the state’s coronavirus picture when measured by the average number of cases for every 100,000 people over the past week. In Louisiana’s case, according to the NYT data, that figure is 2,316 coronavirus cases for every 100,000 people in the state, as of the time of this writing.

For some context around why that’s the case in Louisiana, consider that just this weekend, the state hit its highest single-day record for the number of new coronavirus cases reported: 3,840. Coincidentally, on that same day, hospitals in Louisiana were the most crowded with coronavirus patients since they’d been on May 1, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. Running out of space, though, isn’t even the top concern of health officials.

“Physical space, we can continue to cram patients in the room,” Dr. Manley Jordan, chief medical officer at Lake Charles’ Memorial Health System, told local newspaper The Advocate. “It’s the human resource we’re worried about. It’s a matter of how long we have to run this hard, and is there more surge coming.”

Along these same lines, a document was leaked from the White House that revealed Louisiana is on a list of states that federal health officials regard as being in a coronavirus “red zone.” That’s because such states are reporting a worrisome trend of more than 100 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the course of a week.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.