Southern states that were once among the global COVID-19 hotspots are now seeing sharp decreases in daily cases, as the Delta variant-fueled summer Covid surge continues to wind down.
These sharp declines in cases show a pandemic slowly getting under control, and a point of relief for states that were slammed the hardest in past months.
Experts warn that cases may start rising once again as the weather begins to get colder, though, so it may be too early for Americans to let their guard down in the pandemic.
New daily COVID-19 cases in Texas have dropped by 40% over the past two weeks, and the state is recording one of the lowest death rates
Covid is losing ground in Oklahoma, with new daily cases falling by 50% over the past 14 days
Texas was one of the state’s hardest struck by the summer Covid surge.
Cases in the Lone Star State rapidly rose in mid-July, as the highly contagious Delta variant found its way into the state.
They remained high throughout the summer, not beginning to decline until late September.
At the peak, on September 14, Texas was averaging over 20,000 cases per day.
Weeks of steady decline have seen new daily cases drop below 5,000 per day, a 75 percent decrease since the surge’s peak.
While Covid cases are beginning to fall now, some experts fear they will rise again as the weather gets colder. Pictured: Two people in Houston, Texas, are tested for COVID-19 on August 13
Over the past two weeks, cases have declined by 40 percent, and the 15 new daily cases per every 100,000 residents being recorded every day is 13th lowest of any state in America.
Deaths have also declined in Texas, dropping 27 percent over the past two weeks from 241 per day to 175 per day on average.
Oklahoma was one of the first states hammered by the Delta variant when the Indian-born variant first arrived in late June.
The state also reached its peak in cases in during the summer surge in late September, averaging over 3,400 cases a day on September 13.
New daily cases quickly declined from then on, though, with the Sooner state currently recording 600 new cases a day – dropping exactly 50 percent over the past 14 days – or 15 for every 100,000 residents.
South Carolina set case records over summer, but has since gotten its Covid situation under control. Cases have dropped 48% over the past two weeks, though deaths remain high
New daily cases have dropped by 59% in the past two weeks in Tennessee, a far fall from the record numbers being set over summer
South Carolina set records this summer, with the Delta variant surge surpassing the post-holiday winter surge from last year.
In early-September, the state was recording an average of 5,400 new cases per day, the most ever.
Numbers quickly began to fall after that, though.
New daily cases in the Palmetto State have dropped by 48 percent over the past two weeks, to 870 new cases per day – or 17 per every 100,000 residents.
The death rate of the state remains high, though, with 0.67 of every 100,000 residents dying from the virus every day – a rate lower than only ten other states.
Tennessee also set a new daily case record during the Delta variant-fueled summer surge.
Also on September 13, the state nearly reached an average of 11,000 new daily cases, the most of any point during the pandemic.
Like the other states, cases begin to decline in the latter half of September, and the state is nearly back at pre-Delta Covid levels.
Over the past two weeks, new cases have declined by 59 percent. with the state recording 913 new cases a day – or 13 for every 100,000 residents.
All of these states are managing these results without particularly high vaccination rates, either.
Of the four, Texas has the best vaccine coverage with 53 percent of the population being fully vaccinated.
Only 50 percent of those in Oklahoma and South Carolina are fully vaccinated, and Tennessee is among 11 states that still has not fully vaccinated half of its population, at only 47 percent.
Nationwide, for comparison, 66.4 percent of people have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine and 577 percent are fully vaccinated.
While things are trending in the right direction now, the lower vaccination rates are leaving these states vulnerable this winter.
In the northwest, states like Alaska, Idaho and Montana are getting slammed by a new spike in cases.
Some experts believe the colder weather in those states is forcing many to hold some gatherings and activities indoors, where transmission is more common.
Recent Covid upticks in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut – all among the most vaccinated states in America – points to the same occurring on the east coast as well.
While it remains warm in the south, as fall and winter approach, the temperature will drop – and cases may rise again.