Hawaii is struggling with the highest rate of coronavirus transmission in the entire U.S., leading one expert to urge residents about the importance of wearing masks and social distancing, according to a report on Tuesday.
The Aloha State is currently seeing coronavirus cases spreading at a rate of 1.6, which means that every person who gets sick passes the virus to just over one and a half other individuals on average.
“That is very, very high,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell told Hawaii News Now.
The next worse states behind Hawaii are South Dakota, with a reproductive rate of 1.2, and Texas, which is at 1.16.
“It’s just a glaring example of how we need to be serious about this. We need to wear masks, we need to social distance,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich, who has overseen mass testing events in the state, according to the paper.
Last week, Hawaii reinstated its 14-day interisland travel quarantine amid a new surge in coronavirus cases, effective August 11. The state is regularly seeing triple-digit increases in COVID-19 infections, although its high rate of transmission underscores just how fast the virus is spreading in Hawaii.
“This is the last thing that we wanted to do,” Gov. David Ige said during a news conference Thursday. “We have endured several months- all of us here, all across this state- of restrictions and had been successful in managing the virus and keeping the counts low. But as we reopened our community, people let their guard down.”
At least 53% of ICU beds were filled, as of last week, according to State Health Director Bruce Anderson.
Hawaii had announced it wouldn’t reopen for tourism for out-of-state visitors until Sept. 1 and would continue to enforce a 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travelers who test negative for coronavirus, Fox News previously reported.
As of Tuesday night, Hawaii’s health department reported 3,756 total coronavirus cases in the state and 34 deaths from the virus. At least 251 people have required hospitalization, up from 223 last Thursday.
Total cases and deaths have also increased since last Thursday when the state health department reported 2,815 total infections and 29 deaths.