Covid Hits Key States and Demographics Two Weeks From Vote

The Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting some crucial voters two weeks before Election Day, costing American lives and potentially hurting President Donald Trump, who has received overwhelminglypoor grades from Democrats and independent voters on his virus response.

Wisconsin is the most extreme example, a swing state that Trump won in 2016 that now has America’s fourth-worst outbreak by per-capita cases in the past week. Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan have all seen difficult stretches, and cases have been creeping back up in recent weeks.

In North Carolina, counties with large Black communities — which helped former President Barack Obama win the state in 2008 — are facing their hardest stretch of the pandemic.

In Florida, where Trump and Democrat Joe Biden have been in a battle for Hispanic votes, the counties with the highest percentage of them continue to see theworst rates of new cases.

There’s also Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. Like other Midwestern states, Nebraska missed much of the initial onslaught of Covid-19, and is experiencing it in earnest for the first time. It has America’s fifth-worst weekly case total per capita.

Overall, Nebraska hasn’t gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson. But unlike all other states except Maine, its Electoral College votes aren’t winner-take-all: The state gives two of its five electoral votes to the statewide winner and distributes the other three to the candidates who win each of its three congressional districts.

That means Nebraska’s swing 2nd Congressional District, which includes Omaha, could be a difference-maker in the closest of elections. The district includes Douglas County and a part of Sarpy County, which have slightly worse per-capita virus rates than the state in the past week.

Nationally, the U.S. reported 48,318 cases Sunday, pushing the seven-day average to 55,961, the highest since Aug. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Through Sunday, about 220,000 people in the country have been reported dead of the virus, the data show.

Across the nation:

  • The states with the highest per-capita cases in the past seven days are North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin and Nebraska, Covid Tracking Project data show.
  • The highest per-capita current hospitalization rates are in South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana and Mississippi, according to the project.
  • Connecticut has seen the most dramatic trend swing, with its seven-day average of new cases up 60% in the past week.
  • In Illinois, Covid-19 hospitalizations hit 2,073 on Saturday, the highest since June 13, but they fell slightly on Sunday.
  • In New York, cases have at least temporarily plateaued after a concerning trend at the start of the month.

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