States in the New England, Central, Northern and Pacific regions are still the areas with the highest rates of COVID-19 infections in the country, according to the latest data produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Every week, the CDC produces a map tracking the virus positivity—how many patients tested positive for COVID-19, one of the most-reliable indicators of the impact of the disease in the community. The latest, which shows test positivity during the week ending on October 7, shows a general reduction in infections.
Across the country, positivity was on average 10.1 percent—a 0.8 percent drop compared to the previous week ending on September 30. That week, too, the positivity rate, at 10.9 percent, had dropped from previous consecutive weeks.
This would suggest that infections have largely stabilized, but the CDC has said that cases could pick up over the winter as other seasonal illnesses—including colds and the flu—increase, weakening people’s immune systems.
The most-affected states in the country were Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, where the positivity rate was 13.4 percent, the highest in the nation.
New Jersey and New York followed with an 11.9 percent positivity rate, while Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington had a rate of 11.2 percent.
Other states with a positivity rate between 10 percent and 14.9 percent were Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska (11 percent); Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin (10.6 percent); Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont (10.2 percent).
Southern and East Coast states, from New Mexico to Pennsylvania, had the lowest prevalence of antigen tests returning positive results in the week to October 7, ranging between 5 and 9.9 percent.
Newsweek contacted the CDC for comment via email on Saturday.
COVID-19 has returned to the attention of both U.S. authorities and the American public after a sudden surge in infections since late summer. This has brought up the number of hospital admissions across the country.
“While hospitalizations are increasing, the current levels are still far lower than what was seen in 2022 during the summer peak, when there was an average of 1,287 COVID patients hospitalized each day,” officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Health said in August.
In response to a possible new wave of infection and in light of the emergence of two new variants, EG.5 and BA.2.86, new mask mandates—generally dropped earlier this year after the health emergency was officially declared over by the Biden administration—were introduced in health-care facilities and other public places in at least three states last month.