COVID is surging again, but this time is a little different from the last

Data shows the latest spike in new case counts is spread out geographically with no clear epicenter. That makes it harder to track.

COVID-19 cases are surging – in Michigan and around the country. The state saw its single highest new case count on Saturday – more than 3,300 cases. At the same time, the U.S. counted more than 73,000 new cases – its third highest single-day total.

One thing is different than when cases surged in the spring or summer. This surge has no epicenter. New cases are popping up around the country and around the state.

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In Michigan, the rural Upper Peninsula is the source of much of the state’s increase of infection rates. Sure, numbers are rising in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo, but as a proportion of their populations rural areas are being hit especially hard.

In the rest of the U.S. the rise in coronavirus infections is similarly dispersed. Rural North Dakota is seeing the highest rate of increase in the country with an average of 102 new cases per day per 100,000 people. But urban El Paso, Texas is also being slammed – with coronavirus cases pushing area hospitals past capacity.

While it’s hard to find common denominators among the various COVID-19 surges across the country, they can be loosely grouped into different categories, according to Route Fifty.

The site describes three different surges: the rural explosion, the swing-state surge, and the fatigue creep.

The rural explosion depicts the rising case counts in the least populated areas of the country, such as North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Where the first surge of the pandemic in the spring hit densly populated city centers hardest, the virus seems to have left those areas behind in favor of smaller towns where COVID-19 restrictions are less common.

The swing-state surge describes increasing infection rates in upper Midwest states including Michigan. The region as a whole now has more new cases per capita than any other region in the country. The name defines the region and not necessarily any specific cause for a surge in cases. But the surge is amplified by the attention being paid to these states by political campaigns and the media that follow them.

The fatigue creep describes rising infections all over the country as people become weary of guidelines that call for them to stay home and avoid social gatherings. New Jersey is one example, where more than 1,000 residents test positive for the coronavirus each day.

The surging COVID-19 numbers could be an ill omen as the winter approaches and people are forced to stay indoors.

You can read the full story here.

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