Covid Races Through Swing States on Eve of Tense Election Day
A volunteer hands a disposable particulate respirator face mask. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Covid Races Through Swing States on Eve of Tense Election Day

The U.S. heads into Election Day as reported Covid-19 cases hit an all-time high and hospitalizations rise in 44 states, with key battlegrounds and demographics facing their worst moments of the pandemic.

The clearest examples are in the Midwest toss-up states that helped propel President Donald Trump to the presidency four years ago. Wisconsin posted America’s third-highest cases per capita in the past week, behind only the Dakotas, according to the Covid Tracking Project. And seven-day average cases are at records in Iowa and Michigan.

Covid Races Through Swing States on Eve of Tense Election Day

The virus also is hitting particularly hard among key demographics in other competitive states.

In Texas, majority-Hispanic El Paso County has the highest cases per capita in the U.S. in the past week among counties with at least 100,000 residents, according to USAFacts, a non-profit aggregator of government data that’s used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, Texas counties with the largest Hispanic populations are getting hit twice as badly as the ones with the smallest, CDC data show. (Polls show Democrat Joe Biden within reach of an upset victory in the traditionally Republican state.)

Similarly, North Carolina’s Black communities are getting hit significantly harder than the rest of the state, CDC data show.

Nationally, the U.S. added 73,701 cases Sunday, pushing the seven-day moving average to a record 80,475, according to Covid Tracking Project data. Hospitalizations climbed to 47,502, the highest since Aug. 12. The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was 811, and has been more or less stable for about a week.

The pandemic has killed 231,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Covid Tracking Project data on other battlegrounds:

  • Arizona’s weekly cases are up 33% in the past seven days, while Pennsylvania’s are up 30% and Florida’s up 22%. But weekly cases per capita in those states aren’t nearly as bad as the states at the center of the Midwest surge.
  • Hospitalizations compared with the same day last week are climbing in every state in the U.S. except Oklahoma, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Mississippi, Delaware and Hawaii.

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