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5 States That Are Beating Coronavirus—For Now

Here’s what working for America’s biggest coronavirus success story states.

When COVID-19 first landed in America, it was clear that the East Coast was being ravaged. But now some parts have recovered while the South has major outbreaks.

CNN recently examined exactly what 5 states, hit hard by the virus early on, have done —and continue to do—to keep coronavirus under control.

Read on, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.


New York

queens new york

Once the epicenter of the virus for the first several months, the state has seen a significant drop in average daily cases—from 1,447 new cases a day to 651 cases a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins—a 55% reduction. And, for the first time in months, on Monday the state reported no new deaths. 


New York's Strategy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces updates on the spread of the Coronavirus during news conference in the Red Room at the state Capitol

New York had one of the earliest and most hard-core shelter-in-place policies in the country. On March 20, as Andrew Cuomo ordered all employees of nonessential businesses to stay home. 

"If someone is unhappy, if somebody wants to blame someone, or complain about someone, blame me. There is no one else who is responsible for this decision," Cuomo said when he announced the controversial policy. "This is not life as usual. And accept it and realize it and deal with it." The state also prioritized testing, and with FDA approval, and authorized 

28 public and private labs to start testing for coronavirus. And Cuomo's leadership—which included daily briefings—also helped inspire New Yorkers to follow guidance, including mask-wearing and social distancing. (Although he has been recently criticized for nursing home deaths—and crowing about his success.) "This wasn't only about what government did. This was about what people did," Cuomo said. "Together, New Yorkers bent the curve because we acted responsibly and we looked out for each other. Now we must stay the course."


New York's Plan For the Future

Security officer at airport customs security check holding passport, no entry

One of the key ways New York is protecting themselves against infection is by keeping high-risk travelers out. As of Tuesday, 22 states were on their travel advisory list, meaning that upon arrival they are required to quarantine for 14 days. "The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average," Cuomo's office explained. As for school reopenings, the state has clearly outlined when they can open and what would have to happen for classes to go virtual again. 



A waterfront estate sits on the shores of Indian Harbor in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Bordering New York and home to many New York City commuters, it wasn't a surprise that Connecticut got hit early in the pandemic. However, since April 26 their seven-day average of daily deaths has plummeted from 113 to below 5. They also have one of the lowest rates of transmission, which has continued to decline. 


Connecticut's Strategy


Connecticut was one of the first states to start mandating masks, requiring their use on April 20. They also delayed reopening, starting May 20, and have strict quarantine orders for people visiting from states with high rates of COVID-19. 


Connecticut's Plan for the Future

Information signs on front door Tablo wine and bar restaurant during COVID-19 Pandemic.

While many states have been in stage 3 reopening for months, Connecticut decided to keep their bars closed and restaurants at 50% capacity.



Boston, Massachusetts, USA historic skyline at dusk.

While the majority of states started experiencing a spike of COVID-19 cases upon reopening, Massachusetts' numbers have gone down since they started phasing back on May 25. According to Johns Hopkins University, their rate of daily new cases has dropped by 75% from May 25 to July 10. Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Health claims that between April 15 and July 14, hospitalizations have dropped by 84% and the rate of new deaths has dropped by about 95%.


Massachusetts' Strategy

Business remaining closed during COVID-19 outbreak in Somerville, MA, USA.

A delayed reopening has been a key component of Massachusetts' success. They were one of the last states to start the reopening process. Like Connecticut, they were also one of the first states to issue a mask mandate, even extending it to outdoor public areas. 


Massachusetts' Plan for the Future

Lives Depend On It Traffic Sign on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Massachusetts' main tactic for preventing the spread in their state is outlined in their "Stop the Spread" testing initiative, focusing on increased asymptomatic testing in eight communities with the highest rate of infection in the state. While they plan on reopening classrooms in the fall, for those in grade 2 and above it will involve mask wearing and social distancing. 


New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey, USA skyline on the Passaic River.

Like their neighbor New York, New Jersey was one of the nation's hotspots early in the pandemic. They even have the highest rate of Covid-19 deaths per capita: 175 per 100,000 people. However, within a few months they managed to get themselves back on track. Due to increased testing, fewer people are getting infected — their test positivity rate has fallen to about 1.3% and rate of transmission to is about 0.91.


New Jersey's Strategy

Fort Lauderdale, Florida/USA - April 17, 2020: Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis Press Conference at Urban League of Broward County, US Army Florida National Guard in N95 medical face mask

New Jersey promptly responded to the pandemic, activating the National Guard in March, issuing sweeping closures around the state, and mandating the use of masks. Along with New York and Connecticut, they are forcing visitors from high risk states to quarantine. 


New Jersey's Plan for the Future

Medical staff member with mask and protective equipment performs Coronavirus nasal swabs test tubes at drive-through testing point in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

New Jersey's strategy is to continue taking the virus seriously, despite their numbers going down. "Our rate of transmission is in a good place today, but only a week ago … it was above 1.0," their governor said Monday. "And if we change course, it's going to not only rise, but so will the number of positive test results, so will the number of hospitalizations, and so will the number, sadly, of residents who pass."



Montpelier, Vermont, USA town skyline in autumn.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Vermont has the lowest test positivity rate in the nation —0.78% as of Wednesday. They also have the 3rd lowest number of coronavirus cases per capita and the 10th lowest COVID-19 death rate.


Vermont's Strategy

female doctor or nurse wearing face protective medical mask for protection from virus disease with computer and clipboard calling on phone at hospital

Contact tracing has been a key tool in Vermont, improving its average from 2.7 contacts made per case in April to 4.8 contacts made per case in June. According to the Vermont Department of Health, "2,469 contacts have been identified," as of last week. "172 contacts became a COVID-19 case. This means that this group of people knew to stay home, and likely did not spread the virus further."


Vermont's Plan for the Future

woman adjusting protective face mask,standing on petrol station parking lot

While they are clearly winning in the coronavirus battle, Gov. Phil Scott opted to extend their state of emergency for another month. "It's the vehicle we need to keep certain protections in place (and) control outbreaks as they come up, so we can keep the economy open and manage this ongoing crisis," Scott said. "As long as the data stays consistent, we will stick with our effort to incrementally lift restrictions and get closer to a point where this order is no longer necessary." While they plan on reopening schools in the fall, they will require masks and social distancing.


How to Stay Healthy in Your State

Washing hands rubbing with soap man for corona virus prevention, hygiene to stop spreading coronavirus.

Do what these states did: Wear your face mask, wash your hands frequently, avoid crowds, practice social distancing, monitor your health, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss How to Tell If You've Already Had COVID-19—and Other A-Z Facts.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah
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