Once Again, COVID-19 Hospitalizations Are Increasing in the North, Declining in the South

US
EMT’s clean their materials outside Memorial West Hospital where coronavirus patients are treated in Pembroke Pines, Fla., July 13, 2020. (Maria Alejandra Cardona/Reuters)

For the fourth straight week, the states that have COVID-19 hospitalizations increasing are almost entirely in the northern parts of the country, and the states that have COVID-19 hospitalizations decreasing are almost entirely in the south.

Some good news is that only four states had double-digit percentage increases in the COVID-19 hospitalization rate: Michigan and New Hampshire both saw a 25 percent increase over the past two weeks, while Minnesota had a 15 percent increase, and Colorado had a 14 percent increase. In fact, only five other states saw single-digit increases – Montana, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Wyoming, and North Dakota.

In every other state, the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 went down – and in some cases, dramatically. Tennessee saw hospitalizations decline 32 percent over the past two weeks, Georgia and Texas both saw 34 percent declines, Mississippi was at 35 percent, Alabama was at 36 percent, South Carolina was at 38 percent, Florida was at 39 percent, Louisiana was at 42 percent, and Hawaii enjoyed an astounding 48 percent drop in the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19. The Delta variant wave has passed through the southern parts of the country, and thankfully, COVID-19 patients are leaving the hospitals.

This is yet another batch of statistical evidence indicating that the spread of COVID-19 is at least partially driven by changes in behavior driven by temperature and weather. When it’s too hot or too cold, people spend more time indoors and are more likely to spread the virus; when the weather is nice, people spend more time outdoors, where they are less likely to get infected.

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