While the country is in the thick of a coronavirus resurgence, new data is showing which states have the highest transmission rates.
According to data collected by Statista.com as of Thursday, July 23, Utah has the second-lowest transmission rate in the nation. Maine is at the bottom with .84 while Utah has 0.91.
The graph shows the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person and how quickly the virus is spreading. A value under the number “1” signals it is expected there will be fewer cases in that area, whereas a value of over “1” means there will be more cases, according to Statista. Read the document with Thursday’s data here:
Earlier on Thursday, Utah was tied with Maine for the lowest rate.
Even though this is good news, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is heading the state’s coronavirus task force, warned everyone to not let their guard down just yet.
He says the state saw cases soar after Memorial Day, as well as the Fourth of July, and he doesn’t want the same thing to happen after Pioneer Day.
“We have to do better this time,” Cox said.
“Conversely, if every infected person infects two or three or four people, then things get bad,” Cox said.
The biggest challenge with this virus is that you are incredibly contagious a day or two before you get symptoms—which is why mask wearing is so much more important. But you know this already.
Cox shared a graph explaining where people are getting infected. According to the graph, 60.4% of people are getting infected from people inside of their homes, while 17.8% of cases are from social situations. Only 7.17% are from the workplace and 14.3% of cases are unknown.
Cox pushed for people to wear masks, saying: “And if you’re going to be inside with people who are not your immediate family, please always wear a mask (even 6 feet apart). The data coming out of Salt Lake County and other places is just too clear. Masks work. You won’t be perfect and neither am I, but keep trying.”
Salt Lake County mandated masks nearly four weeks ago, and new data released this week shows cases have declined since the order was put in place. While the drop in cases is small, leaders say this is still a good sign.
“Since the mask requirement went into effect, we’ve seen a stabilization, and we were on an upward trajectory,” said county Mayor Jenny Wilson. “That upward trajectory has been held off by largely the mask requirement.“
From June 16 through the 26, the county had an average of 255 new coronavirus cases per day.
The mayor said the county never promised a big decrease, and asserted masks have helped ease pressure on hospitals and that “stabilization” has been key in the fight against the virus. Brigham Young University recently released a report that cloth masks can help stop at least 90% of respiratory droplets blamed for new infections.
Utah’s rolling seven-day average for positive tests is 598 per day and 9.4% for positive laboratory tests, according to the Utah Department of Health.
Gov. Gary Herbert urged Utahns to get that number below 500 before Aug. 1, warning that further actions may need to be taken to help stop the spread.
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Local and national public health officials have asked people to wear masks, practice physical distancing and stay home if they’re sick to help stop the spread. Many states have issued a statewide mask mandate, while masks are only required in the following places in Utah: all schools K-12, Springdale, government facilities and three Utah counties, Salt Lake, Summit and Grand.
2News spoke with state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn earlier this month about her biggest concern. She said the state’s increased number of cases among younger people is going to lead to more cases among vulnerable populations.
“Our cases in the young populations, 15-24-year-olds, have been increasing over the last couple of weeks,” she said. “However, we know that’s going to spread into our more vulnerable populations. So for all the young adults out there and high school students, you can still spread this to vulnerable populations.”
She encouraged anyone who has any symptoms of the virus or came in close contact with someone who tested positive, to stay home “so that you’re not infecting others in the community who might be at higher risk than you.”
Dunn, however, has previously said, during press conferences and to 2News, that the state is starting to see a plateau in cases.
Utah currently has 485,422 total tests and 36,099 positive cases, 23,093 of which are considered recovered, as of Thursday. UDOH reports 267 people have died since March from the virus.