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6 new coronavirus hotspots you wouldn’t expect have appeared in the US

Published May 7th, 2020 2:44PM EDT

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  • New coronavirus hotspots are popping up all over the United States, and they could spark a second wave of infections.
  • Texas, Massachusetts, Utah, Georgia, and South Dakota are now trying to contain new, fast-moving pandemic cells. 
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The novel coronavirus pandemic may seem like it’s beginning to wane — social distancing efforts are working and lockdowns have helped to flatten the curve of new infections in many areas — but we’re not out the woods yet. Not by a long shot. In fact, there are some areas of the country where the spread of the virus is just starting to ramp up.

As Forbes reports, there are a half dozen specific locations in the US that could be considered hotspots, with new cases popping up rapidly.

The novel coronavirus is an airborne virus, and it spreads rapidly when people are in close proximity to a person who is already infected. It’s why the disease tore through crowded cities around the globe, and it also means that when a new hotspot pops up it can be hard to slow it down.

New groups of coronavirus cases have popped up in Massachusetts, Georgia, Utah, Texas, and South Dakota. These aren’t the states that normally dominate coronavirus headlines, like New York, but the virus is spreading at a rapid pace in these new areas just the same.

South Dakota has seen over 800 confirmed cases come out of a single meat processing plant. Some 3,700 employees work at the facility, and the viral outbreak there exploded in seemingly no time. The same is true of a Wal-Mart store in Worcester, MA, where more than 80 employees suddenly came down with COVID-19, forcing the whole store to temporarily shut down.

An outbreak at another meat processing plant in Moore County, Texas, has turned a community of just over 20,000 people into one of the largest epicenters of COVID-19 in the state. But that’s hardly the only virus-related issue the state is grappling with, as testing of prisoners in the state has found up to 70% of inmates are positive for COVID-19. That’s an incredibly high number, and tackling a viral outbreak in a confined area makes things even more complicated.

Three cities in Utah — Provo, Orem, and Payson — have also been identified as new coronavirus hotspots, as has Gainesville, Georgia.

It’s kind of funny (no, sorry, it’s kind of sad) that in the midst of all of this, a small percentage of the US population is protesting the restrictions that are in place to keep themselves and the rest of us safe. It only takes one person to spark a new wave of outbreaks in areas that haven’t already seen a large number of cases, and that’s what we’re beginning to see with these fast-growing hotspots.

I get it. It sucks to have to stay inside and work from home or, worse yet, lose your job because of this pandemic. It’s terrible, in fact. But rapidly bringing things back to “normal” and killing people in the process isn’t the solution.

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