Close Close
ThinkAdvisor

5 States Where COVID-19 Hospitalizations Are Surging

X
Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
X
Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Some U.S. states look as if they might be heading into a severe new wave of COVID-19.

Federal government charts illustrating trends in new case counts and hospitalization rates in those states are starting to head straight up.

Hospitalization rates may be a better indicator of outbreak severity than new case counts, because ups and downs in the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 might reflect changes in how easy and cheap it is for people to get tested, rather than infection rates.

Hospitals, in contrast, are likely to admit people with COVID-19 only when those people are seriously ill.

The U.S. hospitalization rate for people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 has started to climb rapidly, from record lows in June.

U.S. hospitals reported 30,481 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 for the seven-day period ending July 24. That was up 33% from the total for the week ending July 17, and the total for the week ending July 17 was up 35% from the total for the week ending July 10.

Those numbers mean that the hospitalization rate for the week ending July 24 was about 80% higher than the rate for the week ending July 10.

Michael Neidorff, the CEO of Centene, a major health insurer, told securities analysts Tuesday in a conference call the company held to go over second-quarter earnings  that he believes the United States is facing a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

COVID-19 trackers are wondering if, given how long new COVID-19 infections take to lead to visits to doctors and how slow many states are to report their numbers to the federal government, the real trends are worse.

For health insurers, a severe new wave of cases could lead to a strange situation: sharp decreases in patients’ ability to get routine preventive and sick care offsetting costs related to COVID-19.

For life insurers, a new wave could lead to continuing uncertainty about the ultimate effects of the pandemic on death benefits totals.

Goodbye, June

The United States looked last month as if it had gotten the COVID-19 pandemic well under control.

The country had vaccinated about 79% of people ages 65 and older, 59% of adults ages 18 and older, and 48.6% of all residents against COVID-19.

Some combination of vaccines, an increase in natural immunity, weather changes and changes in the virus that causes COVID-19 caused the number of new cases recorded each week, per 100,000 U.S. residents, to plummet to just 34.

That new case count was down from a peak of 536 in January. The June new case count was also down from the previous low of 60 per 100,000 people, which was recorded in May 2020, when the first wave of the pandemic was ebbing and shortages of supplies limited patient access to testing.

This past June, falling case counts translated into falling hospitalization rates. Hospitals reported just 2.5 hospitalizations of patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 U.S. residents. That was the lowest rate recorded since the pandemic began, down from 15.8 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in January.

Hello, August?

The people typically covered by life insurance are working people ages 18 to 64.

The effects of the new COVID-19 wave on life insurers could depend on the percentage of people in that age group who are vaccinated, how well those people follow public officials’ safety advice, and the nature of the COVID-19 variants infected working-age people.

In the week ending July 24, about 51% of the people admitted to U.S. hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were ages 18 to 59, up from 50% the week before.

Another clue is what the numbers look like at the state level. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, for the last seven days, per 100,000 state residents ranges from a low of one in Vermont to 33 in another state, with a median of about 6, in one state.

For a look at the five states with the worst COVID-19 hospitalization rates, see the slideshow above.

For data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, see the table below.

A U.S. COVID-19 Pandemic Snapshot (for the week ending July 24)

State Population People who are fully vaccinated as % of total population Cases per 100,000 people, last 7 days Cases, % change from previous week Confirmed COVID-19 admissions, last 7 days Confirmed COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 people, last 7 days Confirmed COVID-19 admissions, % change from previous week Working age admissions as a percentage of all admissions Deaths per 100,000 people, last 7 days
Alabama 4,903,185 34% 227 167% 1,080   22 115% 44% 0.8
Alaska 731,545 45% 138 19%   70   10 52% 47% 0.4
Arizona 7,278,717 45% 123 31% 676   9 8% 52% 0.7
Arkansas 3,017,804 36% 367 48% 808   27 15% 51% 1.7
California  39,512,223 52% 46 -31% 2,734   7 43% 62% 0.2
Colorado 5,758,736 54% 42 -14% 339   6 5% 53% 0.5
Connecticut 3,565,287 63% 31 17%   83   2 24% 52% 0.1
Delaware 973,764 52% 42 31%   24   2 33% 58% 0.1
District of Columbia 705,749 54% 32 -7%   21   3 -16% 71% 0
Florida  21,477,737 49% 266 11% 7,072   33 55% 52% 1.2
Georgia  10,617,423 38% 90 26% 1,452   14 64% 48% 0.5
Hawaii 1,415,872 53% 91 85%   42   3 27% 45% 0.4
Idaho 1,787,065 37% 67 13% 103   6 16% 35% 0.6
Illinois  12,671,821 48% 48 16% 616   5 30% 49% 0.3
Indiana 6,732,219 44% 51 0% 423   6 29% 46% 0
Iowa 3,155,070 49% 40 6% 154   5 57% 54% 0.4
Kansas 2,913,314 45% 115 10% 300   10 2% 47% 1.4
Kentucky 4,467,673 45% 82 10% 895   20 5% 22% 0.2
Louisiana 4,648,794 37% 306 51% 1,255   27 81% 53% 1.4
Maine 1,344,212 63% 26 18%   41   3 -61% 22% 1.1
Maryland 6,045,680 58% 29 73% 139   2 11% 58% 0.4
Massachusetts 6,892,503 64% 35 38% 124   2 25% 54% 0.3
Michigan 9,986,857 49% 24 50% 275   3 17% 49% 0.3
Minnesota 5,639,632 54% 30 33% 128   2 10% 52% 0.2
Mississippi 2,976,149 34% 141 1% 422   14 19% 56% 0.9
Missouri 6,137,428 41% 274 16% 1,271   21 15% 45% 1.4
Montana 1,068,778 44% 51 29%   99   9 1% 43% 0.4
Nebraska 1,934,408 49% 33 -19% 110   6 20% 31% 0.3
Nevada 3,080,156 44% 148 -14% 753   24 6% 57% 1.9
New Hampshire 1,359,711 58% 15 5%   31   2 63% 48% 0.3
New Jersey 8,882,190 58% 54 67% 346   4 36% 48% 0.4
New Mexico 2,096,829 57% 50 6% 131   6 49% 52% 0.5
New York  19,453,561 57% 56 74% 590   3 36% 47% 0.2
North Carolina  10,488,084 44% 68 39% 718   7 58% 53% 0.4
North Dakota 762,062 40% 29 45%   20   3 54% 40% 0.1
Ohio  11,689,100 46% 41 67% 435   4 3% 52% 0.3
Oklahoma 3,956,971 40% 149 23% 622   16 19% 45% 0.5
Oregon 4,217,737 56% 56 22% 154   4 26% 50% 0.3
Pennsylvania 12,801,989 52% 28 51% 332   3 37% 37% 0.3
Rhode Island 1,059,361 61% 35 21%   14   1 75% 64% 0.2
South Carolina 5,148,714 40% 73 6% 332   6 34% 52% 1
South Dakota 884,659 47% 9 -54%   28   3 -32% 50% 0.1
Tennessee 6,829,174 39% 112 59% 557   8 58% 47% 0.4
Texas  28,995,881 43% 120 58% 3,287   11 11% 56% 0.7
Utah 3,205,958 44% 86 -28% 272   8 -10% 61% 0.3
Vermont 623,989 67% 13 -6%   4   1 100% 50% 0.2
Virginia 8,535,519 54% 39 6% 299   4 32% 49% 0.3
Washington 7,614,893 57% 69 10% 321   4 12% 45% 0.5
West Virginia 1,792,147 39% 34 16%   65   4 10% 32% 0.9
Wisconsin 5,822,434 52% 34 54% 249   4 59% 44% 0.5
Wyoming 578,759 36% 105 7% 108   19 38% 43% 1
NATIONAL* 173,333,693 48% 4,270 18% 29,882 6 26% 40%
Source: White House COVID-19 Team, Joint Coordination Cell, Data Strategy and Execution Workgroup, Community Profile Report.

* The figures for percentage changes and number of cases per 100,000 people are medians. The other figures are totals.

(Image: NIH)