At least three months ago, the Corona virus swept through South Dakota to the point that its crowded hospitals were transporting patients to other states for treatment. An analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University showed that the death rates from Covid-19 in North and South Dakota were The highest in the world. In one county in Montana, the hospitalization rate for the virus was 20 times the national average.
As in some former hotspots like Arizona and Florida, the boom has spread dramatically as most leaders and residents of these states resist lockdowns and States mask For months. In South Dakota, no statewide mandate has been issued.
The boom in these countries was as brief as it was powerful. Today, their new case rates are roughly back to where they were last summer or early fall. In North Dakota that Commissioning masks At the height of the rally in mid-November, the shift was particularly dramatic: the average daily death toll per person is now the second lowest in the country, according to New York Times Database.
By some measures, the trajectory of the three-nation hotspot reversed the path of a nation. After the daily average of new cases in the United States peaked on January 9, it took 37 days – until last Monday – for the rate to drop by two-thirds. It took South Dakota and Montana 35 days to reach the same mark after cases peaked in these two states in November. (North Dakota did this on 24.)
Fatalities are still high nationally, as the death of Covid-19 patients could take weeks. The country continues to record more than 2,000 deaths every day and is on track to reach 500,000 deaths next week.
Experts say rises in the Great Northern Plains have fallen largely for the same reason that the number of cases has decreased in the United States: People have finally taken steps to save themselves in the face of a deadly, uncontrollable disease.
“As things get worse and friends and family members are hospitalized or dying, people start to modify their behavior and cases decrease,” said Megan O’Connell, an epidemiologist in South Dakota and a counselor on health issues for the Great Plains area. . American Indians, who represent about 5 percent to nearly 10 percent of the population in All three Countries have contracted the virus at much higher rates than the general population.
During the worst weeks of the outbreak, from early November to late December, use of masks rose from 10 to 20 percentage points in South Dakota and from 20 to 30 percentage points in North Dakota, according to Survey data from the University of Maryland.
Since then, the US vaccination campaign has accelerated. North Dakota is ranked fifth among the states to give its residents at least one shot; South Dakota is seventh, and Montana is 11th.
Some experts see the coronavirus race across these states as a rough test of the widely rejected idea that the pandemic should be allowed to run its course for the population to acquire herd immunity.
While the region has yet to reach herd immunity, it may be closer than anywhere else in the United States.
The November outbreak jumped to North and South Dakota topping the list in the cumulative cases per person, where they have remained, according to New York Times Database13 and 12.5 percent of its population are known to be infected. Montana, at around 9.2 percent, is close to the middle of the national pack.
Just over 8 percent of Americans – about 27.9 million – are known to be infected with the Coronavirus, but for many reasons, including that asymptomatic infections can go undetected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that The real rate It is 4.6 times that.
Through these measures, as many as six in 10 Dakota could have acquired – and more likely more – some immunity to the virus by the end of 2020, according to Geoffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University who is Future diffusion modeling Of the virus. He noted that in some places the share could be higher.