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Virus Experts Say If You Live Here, You're in Trouble

These 10 states have the lowest vaccination rates.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is already in your state; the question is, are you in danger from it? While the variant can infect anyone—vaccinated or unvaccinated—it is riskier to be in states with low vaccination rates (and deadlier if you are unvaccinated). "We continue to see a rise in cases driven by the more transmissible Delta variant with cases concentrated in communities with lower vaccination rates," Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said yesterday at the COVID-19 briefing. "So this remains a pandemic of the unvaccinated." Read on to see the 10 states that have the lowest rates—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.



Montgomery, Alabama

"Alabama now ranks fourth in the country for the most new COVID-19 cases per capita," reports the Alabama News Network staff. "According to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Alabama ranked behind Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida for the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days. Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said the Gulf states continue to be on fire with COVID-19 cases."




"The Mississippi State Department of Health issued an alert on Friday ordering any coronavirus-positive individuals to isolate for at least 10 days or face up to a 5-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000," according to the New York Post. "The isolation order comes amid surging COVID-19 cases in Mississippi, as the 7-day average for new cases in the state reached 4,316 on Friday, nearly double the highest point during the second wave in January, according to Johns Hopkins University data."



Sunrise at Devils Tower, Wyoming

"Coronavirus hospitalizations in Wyoming are increasing, and so are the rates of residents getting vaccinated," reports the Jackson Hole News and Guide. "More Wyomingites received a first COVID-19 vaccine dose in the last two weeks than in any two-week period since mid-May, state figures show. More than 7,400 people received a first shot between Aug. 6 and Friday, according to a count of Wyoming Department of Health numbers performed by the Casper Star-Tribune. The sudden shift comes as the more contagious delta strain of the virus is driving new and often more severe infections and hospitalizations, largely among the unvaccinated."



Sun Valley, Idaho

"Idaho hospitals are nearing the peak of their capacity and the number of patients in intensive care units is at its highest point since the COVID-19 pandemic began," reports KTVB. "Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen told reporters on Tuesday that he visited an ICU in the Treasure Valley over the weekend and said it was difficult to see patients struggling for their lives and stressed out medical staff doing their very best to keep up."

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"Louisiana reported 139 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday – the state's highest reported number of deaths in a single day since the pandemic began, the Louisiana Department of Health tweeted. The previous record, 129 deaths, was reported on April 14, 2020," reports CBS News. "Each death is a terrible loss, even more so because we know most COVID deaths can now be prevented through safe and effective vaccines," Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards tweeted. "The state's health department reported 3,814 new cases of the virus Tuesday, noting an increase across all age groups within the state. The largest percentage increase of cases were among those aged 5 to 17."



Little Rock, Arkansas, USA skyline on the river at twilight.

"Tuesday governor Asa Hutchinson reported that all Intensive Care Unit beds for COVID-19 patients were full across the state," reports KATV. "Jeff Tabor is the program manager for Arkansas COVID Comm, a statewide transfer system that coordinates the transfer of COVID patients to hospitals with available bed space. The job got even more difficult when the state maxed out on beds Tuesday." "Everybody, not just healthcare, but everybody's stressed out right now, and so, we all just have to take a deep breath," Tabor said. "It is by far the most difficult that we've experienced doing it."

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West Virginia

West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia, USA.

"West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice began Monday's virtual COVID-19 briefing with some startling statistics. Nearly 2,500 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since Friday, with now more than 10,000 cases in the state. There are no longer any green counties on the state's map," reports WBOY. "Also, over the last eight weeks, health officials have seen a 26% increase in cases among fully vaccinated residents, a 21% increase, among the vaccinated, in cases requiring hospitalizations and a 25% increase in deaths among those who have gotten their shots, Gov. Justice said."



Downtowntown Atlanta, Georgia Skyline.

"Georgia has been amongst the southern states hit hard by COVID-19 resurgences in the past few weeks, and now it appears that children are being more heavily affected, according to the Georgia Department of Health," reports Newsweek. "New data from the department shows that nearly 2,000 children ages 0-17 have tested positive for COVID-19 per day in the Peach State recently. This is based on the age group's average number of daily cases over the last week, which is 1,823. School districts in Atlanta, the largest metro area in the state and one of the largest in the country, have reported over 13,000 positive cases overall among students, both kids and teens, since the 2021-2022 school year began."

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Honky-tonks on Lower Broadway


"As of this week, Tennessee has surpassed 1 million total COVID-19 cases," reports News Channel 5. "The state recorded its first case of the coronavirus on March 12, 2020. Since then, the virus has claimed the lives of 13,235 Tennesseans. Tennessee has seen a recent surge of new cases, driven by the delta variant. Active cases have risen above 67,000 this week and are just slightly below the state's record high. The state is seeing the worst outbreak of new cases since the winter, before COVID-19 vaccines were widely available. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90% of new cases in the state are the delta variant."


North Dakota

Bismarck, North Dakota

"The number of active COVID-19 cases in North Dakota is on par with infections one year ago — a prelude to a fall outbreak that threatened to overrun hospitals and produced death rates that for a time were the worst in the world," reports the Grand Forks Herald. "North Dakota reported 1,688 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Aug. 24. A year earlier, on Aug. 24, 2020, the state reported 1,541 cases." "We're heading into an absolute disaster this fall," said Dr. Stephen McDonough, a retired Bismarck pediatrician and former senior state health official.

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Virus Expert Warns Deaths Will "Climb Even Higher"

Doctor examining female patient in critical health conditions using a stethoscope in the intensive care unit of a modern hospital during covid-19 pandemic

"Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services shows an average of 39 people hospitalized with Covid-19 for every 100,000 residents in those states, compared to 10 for every 100,000 in the top 10 vaccinated states," says CNN. "I think we're going to see death numbers climb even higher in the next couple weeks, but I'm hoping big outbreak states like Florida, Louisiana — they're at their peak and they may be coming down," Dr. Ashish Jha said on The News with Shepard Smith. "Let's hope so." As for yourself, no matter where you live, get vaccinated, 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