COVID-19 surge moves to Midwest, as young people fuel U.S. cases rise

Aug. 14, 2020

Many states initially spared from the COVID-19 pandemic in March, April, and May are now reporting increasing transmission rates in non-metropolitan counties fueled by community spread, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois, the weekly change in COVID-19 cases has been higher in rural regions compared with metro areas, and outbreaks are linked to social events rather than workplace exposure or congregate living situations.

A summer of waning social distancing restrictions has made bars and restaurants common COVID-19 outbreak sites, on par with nursing homes and prisons states across the country. In Louisiana, the New York Times reports bars and restaurants are linked to 25 percent of the state's cases, and in Maryland, that percentage is 12 percent.

Fueling these outbreaks are the twin forces of a national "quarantine fatigue" and young adults, who are more likely than older, more at-risk Americans, to be both patrons and employees in dining and drinking establishments. Young adults are driving outbreaks in many states, and experts worry those with mild or asymptomatic cases are spreading the disease to more vulnerable household members.

In Texas and Florida, bars and restaurants were closed as case counts started to rise in June and July, and in New York City, indoor dining is still prohibited nearly three months after the city saw its peak of cases.

Visit CIDRAP for more news