Harvard experts recommend shutdowns for 13 states due to COVID-19 spread

Posted at 8:22 PM, Oct 12, 2020

The Harvard Global Health Institute released an interactive map in July that shows the risk of contracting the coronavirus based on daily new cases per 100,000 people. At the time the map was released, three states were in the red. As of Monday, that number has since increased to 13.

According to Harvard, the 13 states represent ones where full stay-at-home orders are necessary, while an additional 23 should consider them.

The map has four colors – green, yellow, orange and red – to demonstrate the risk by county and state. The map shows 13 states – North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Utah, Missouri, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska and Wyoming – in the red for where infections are high.

“If you look at the map with the color coding of cases and states that are going up, you see states in the Northwest and the Midwest, it's going in the wrong direction right now,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday. “So, if there's anything we should be doing, we should be doubling down in implementing the public health measures that we have been talking about for so long, which are keeping a distance, no crowds, wearing masks, washing hands, doing things outside, as opposed to inside, in order to get those numbers down.”

As these states start to get colder, Fauci is concerned the virus will become even trickier to contain.

“We're entering into the cool months of the fall and ultimately the cold months of the winter,” Fauci said. “And that's just a recipe of a real problem, if we don't get things under control before we get into that seasonal challenge."

According to the Harvard Global Health Institute, when areas are shaded red, stay-at-home orders become necessary.

Unlike Harvard’s recommendations, Fauci says that shutdowns can be avoided.

“I think people think that, when we talk about public health, that we're talking about shutting down,” Fauci said. “Let's get that off the table. We are not talking about shutting down. We're talking about simple public health measures, as simple as they sound, are really quite effective. And that's what we say over and over again, universal wearing of masks, keep physical distance, above all, avoid crowds and congregate settings.”

No states are in the green.

Two states that were in the red early in the summer, Florida and Arizona, have dropped out of the red. Florida, now in the orange, is ranked No. 28 for most coronavirus infections. Arizona now is No. 38 in the US for COVID-19 infections.

In general, the worst effects of the coronavirus have moved from the northeast in the spring to the south in the summer and to the upper Plains and Northern Rockies now in the fall.

In North Dakota, there are currently 158 hospitalized “due to COVID,” and 233 hospitalized “with COVID.”

A number of states, even those outside of the “red” areas, are seeing record numbers of cases. On Friday, Ohio set its record number of reported cases with 1,840. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a first-term Republican, expressed concern in a news conference last Friday.

“We have it in our power to slow it down. I know everyone is tired, but we must learn to live with it. Distance and masks are essential,” DeWine told Ohioans.


- Less than one case per 100,000 people

- On track for containment

- Monitor with viral testing and contact tracing program


- 1-9 cases per 100,000 people

- Community spread

- Rigorous test and trace programs advised


- 10-24 cases per 100,000 people

- Accelerated spread

- Stay-at-home orders and/or rigorous test and trace programs advised


- 25 or more cases per 100,000 people

- Tipping point

- Stay-at-home orders necessary

Click here to view the map.