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If You Live Here, You're in Danger of COVID

Hospitals are overflowing in these states.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

No place is 100% safe from coronavirus. The "highly transmissible" Delta variant makes up 99% of the cases in America. But some states are less safe than others due to levels of high transmission, low levels of vaccination and overcrowding hospitals, which can put your health at big risk. Which states are doing the "worst" when it comes to containing this virus at this very moment? Read on to see if your state is one of the 8 on this list (or if the state next to yours made it, which can be dangerous, too)—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.



Anchorage Skyline with a winter reflection

"Alaska's largest hospital announced Tuesday that a relentless coronavirus outbreak driven by the highly contagious Delta virus variant has left emergency room patients waiting hours in their vehicles and forced medical teams to ration care," reports the New York Times. "At Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, the hospital said it was now operating under 'crisis standards of care' — procedures put in place to prioritize resources in a way that may leave some patients with substandard care."



Statue of Hank Williams, the famous country singer, in its new location on Commerce Street

Hospitalizations are finally going down in Alabama…but it may be because people are dying before they get there. Reports WSFA: "Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, said Monday that he's 'hopeful but not confident yet that things are beginning to improve,' and noted that 'one of the reasons our hospitalization numbers appear to be stable to declining is because we've had a pretty substantial daily death count. We're reporting more than 40 deaths a day now for almost three weeks.'"

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Jackson, Mississippi, USA skyline over the Capitol Building.

"Mississippi now leads the nation in COVID-19 deaths per 100,000, usurping New Jersey, an early pandemic hotspot that until last week had held the title for 15 months. The Magnolia State claimed the unenviable title following a month in which the delta variant surge pushed hospitals to the point of collapse with coronavirus patient levels at all-time highs for both children and adults," reports the Mississippi Free Press. "Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs predicted the state would exceed New Jersey earlier this month, shortly after Mississippi surpassed the nation's earliest pandemic hotspot, New York, which now ranks third in COVID deaths per 100,000. But it did not have to happen, he stressed." "It's bad. It doesn't have to be this way," Dr. Dobbs said during the Sept. 3 MSMA press conference. "In Mississippi, we shouldn't be complacent. We should use our tools to advance. And this isn't just in COVID. This is in every health care arena."

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North Dakota

State Capitol of North Dakota, Bismarck

"We really are in crisis," said Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford Health vice president and medical officer in Fargo, "which serves a metropolitan area of about 250,000 people in North Dakota and Minnesota," says Fox 29. "An executive at the largest health care system in North Dakota said its hospitals in Fargo could use up to 300 additional nurses to handle COVID-19 cases and is bumping up incentives to fill the void."

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Idaho and Washington

Welcome to Idaho sign on Interstate 90.

"Surgeries to remove brain tumors have been postponed. Patients are backed up in the emergency room. Nurses are working brutal shifts. But at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. the calls keep coming: Can Idaho send another patient across the border?" reports the New York Times. "Washington State is reeling under its own surge of coronavirus cases. But in neighboring Idaho, 20 miles down Interstate 90 from Spokane, unchecked virus transmission has already pushed hospitals beyond their breaking point." "As they've seen increasing Covid volumes, we've seen increasing calls for help from all over northern Idaho," Dr. Daniel Getz, chief medical officer for Providence Sacred Heart, told the paper, which added: "As he spoke, a medical helicopter descended with a new delivery."

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West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia

"Case counts in West Virginia hit record levels, according to Hopkins data, reaching a daily average of nearly 1,800 per day. Dr. Clay Marsh, the state's Covid czar, said the most-recent surge has been more extreme and has happened more quickly than any of the prior waves," reports CNBC. "We're very concerned about getting out of this particular part of the pandemic because our hospital systems and ICUs have been challenged in a more severe way than we have before," he said.

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Louisville Kentucky

"Kentucky is also setting records. Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement Sept. 7 that the state reported a record number of new cases from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, with 30,680 cases," reports CNBC. "We continue to see more cases than is safe by any means," Beshear said. "The bad news is we had the worst week ever last week. Our hospitals continue to be pushed to the brink. If we have one bad week, we can very quickly run out of ICU beds."

RELATED: Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID, Says Mayo Clinic


The Delta Variant is in Every State

Medic, nurse with face mask and blue nitride gloves sharing a N95 mask.

Infections are finally going down in epicenters like Florida, and some experts predict that the peak is over—adding that nothing is predictable, given that school is just starting and can lead to more spread of this dangerous Delta variant. To stay safe, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek