Maine has maintained the lowest COVID-19 case rate among states this past week, reflecting just how badly virus conditions have escalated elsewhere amid the delta variant surge.
In the last seven days, Maine has seen an average of 12 daily cases per 100,000 people, compared with 45 cases per 100,000 people nationally, a New York Times analysis found. Mississippi, the state with the highest rate, has seen 118 cases per 100,000 people — a level of transmission nearly 10 times higher than Maine.
Cases here have been roughly flat in Maine in recent days after trending in the wrong direction for more than a month. The seven-day case rate as of Tuesday is lower than it was a week ago but still more than six times what it was in early July.
All but two counties are currently above the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention threshold for mask-wearing, with face coverings recommended for everyone indoors regardless of vaccination status, according to a Bangor Daily News analysis of state data. Hospitalizations climbed to 123 on Monday, the highest single-day total since mid-May.
A wide majority of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Maine continue to be among unvaccinated people, according to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data. Maine’s high vaccination rate is likely one factor keeping overall cases down, as vaccines are highly effective at preventing transmission of the virus. Sixty-five percent of Maine’s population is fully vaccinated, which is fourth highest among states.
The three states with higher vaccination rates — Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut — also have COVID-19 case rates significantly lower than the U.S. average, according to the New York Times. Fourteen of the 15 states with the highest COVID-19 infection rates right now are also places where less than half of the population is fully vaccinated.