The Corner

Politics & Policy

Cases Are Surging in Some Blue States, Too

A commuter wears a mask while walking into the subway as the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus continues in New York City, April 30, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Continuing a point from yesterday’s Morning Jolt, on Monday the states with the most deaths from COVID-19 were California (41), Massachusetts (35), Florida (28), Texas (21), Mississippi (20), Rhode Island (19), Illinois (14), Ohio (14), and New York State, which led in this category, for so many days, suffered only 12 deaths. If patients succumbing to the virus are a lagging indicator, the Northeast is thankfully done with the early steps of this painful process, but the worst and last part isn’t over yet.

News coverage of the pandemic in the past week or two has focused heavily on Texas, Florida, and Arizona — and those states are indeed suffering considerable spikes, with little sign of relief on the horizon. Eight of the top ten states in new cases yesterday are in the South, and one of the others is Arizona.

But headlines like “Covid swamps Trump Country” and “Blue state pandemic turns red” are really not offering an accurate depiction, because a bunch of blue states are seeing surging numbers of new cases, too. California stood atop the list of new cases Monday, and the number of new cases in several Northern “blue” states isn’t that far behind those Southern ones — and what’s particularly unnerving was that some of these Northern “blue” states already had considerable waves of infections earlier in the year. Louisiana ranked tenth with 837 new cases. Ohio had 755 new cases Monday — and they’ve had 51,655 cases so far. Illinois had 738 new cases — and they’ve had 143,514 cases so far. Washington — the first state to report a coronavirus case — had 693, and that state has had 33,391 so far. Pennsylvania had 681 cases — and they’ve had 90,555 cases so far.

Yes, new infections are surging in the South, but they’re also surging in a bunch of other corners of the country, too. 20 states had more than 500 cases yesterday — including states you’re probably not hearing as much about, such as Kansas and Nevada. I’m not sure what the ideal solution to containing this spread and minimizing the loss of life is; any answer is going to leave some people deeply frustrated. But I know that contending that the virus is some sort of karmic comeuppance for Republican states, as some progressive columnists believe, is a bitter vengeance fantasy that obscures the real solutions we need during this pandemic.

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