The Riskiest and Safest Places to Be in the United States on Thanksgiving

The coast of Honolulu from the air

By Anna Breuer on 21 November 2020
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Aside from a few areas that are so remote they might serve as their own NBA bubble that fended off the novel coronavirus as long as they could, the coronavirus has left no stone unturned, no county untouched.  Indeed, only one county in the United States is virus free.

That county, Kalawao County in Hawaii, is where the Kalaupapa settlement is located on the island of Molokai.  The settlement dates back to 1865, when the Kingdom of Hawaii enacted a law that forced patient’s with Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, to move there, isolated from the rest of the world by towering sea cliffs and the Pacific Ocean.

Today, out of the thousands of patients who came in the ensuing years, only 12 remain and a total of 75 people live in the community now, the only place in the country that remains untouched by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, epidemiologists and researchers look at the positivity rate in a given area to determine the extent to which the coronavirus is spreading.  A high test positivity rate is used by most jurisdictions as a key metric in determining whether to impose school or business closures, whether to issue stay-at-home orders, but it alone does not signify a measure of the percentage of the population that is infected or even a measure of the incidence of new cases.

What a high positivity rate also suggests is that many other cases remain undiagnosed and that additional testing should be conducted to find infected individuals before they spread the virus further.   That is why some countries, Austria and Slovakia come to mind, are testing the entire citizenry.

Still, a low positivity rate does serve as a clear indication that enough tests have been administered so as to ensure that most infections have been detected and contained, thereby interrupting the chain of transmission of the virus.

Absent other barometers, however, the positivity rate will give us a good understanding of where in the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. the coronavirus is rampant and where it is being contained.

The data used in this story is current as of November 21, 2020, and provided by Johns Hopkins University, along with the number of new cases most recently reported and the number of tests conducted per thousand members of the population.




(Photo and charts: Accura Media Group)

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