States that quickly reopened during spring 2020 saw COVID-19 hospitalization rates increase by 50%

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    States that quickly reopened during spring and summer 2020 saw COVID-19 hospitalization rates increase by 50% within one month, study finds

    • Hospitalizations increased by 50 percent around four weeks after lockdown orders were rescinded
    • Every state had a different version of lockdowns and a different version of reopening, as state officials made their own decisions
    • Delaware, the final state to reopen on June 1, held a relatively low case rate throughout the spring and summer
    •  There was not a significant uptick in deaths overall, despite the hospitalizations

    States that reopened the earliest in the Spring and Summer of 2020 suffered from increased hospitalization rates, a study finds. 

    A team led by researchers at Purdue University looked at hospitalization and death data from all 50 states to find potential trends pre and post-lockdown from last year.

    When the COVID-19 pandemic initially began in March 2020, many states went into some sort of lockdown. 

    The strictest states, like Michigan, limited a majority of travel and closed many non-essential businesses throughout the state. 

    Some of the more lenient states, like those in the southeast, set masking requirements and capacity restrictions on some businesses, but that’s all.  

    Lockdowns were quickly rescinded due to political and economic pressures.

    The ill-fated moved causes hospitalizations due to COVID to increase by 50 percent across the country, and led to the second-largest nationwide COVID outbreak.

    Delaware Governor John Carney (Pictured) chose to reopen his state on June 1, the last of any state the reopen. Delaware recorded relatively low case levels throughout the summer and spring months and did not run into a case surge until autumn

    Delaware Governor John Carney (Pictured) chose to reopen his state on June 1, the last of any state the reopen. Delaware recorded relatively low case levels throughout the summer and spring months and did not run into a case surge until autumn

    The research team analyzed each state, and set a marker for when they initially went into ‘lockdown’ and when they ‘reopened’. 

    What ‘lockdown’ and ‘reopened’ meant for each state was different, though, as governors and health officials in each state set policies for themselves.

    Liberal leaning states were more likely to have stricter lockdowns than their conservative peers.

    Some states also phased their reopening’s, slowly lifting restrictions over the course of a couple weeks rather than all at once.

    The day of reopening in each state, no matter how early or late, was set as day 0, and then each corresponding day would count up from there.

    For states with phased out restrictions, the first day where the phasing out began was considered day 0. 

    Vermont has been heralded as a COVID-19 success story despite the decision of Gov Phil Scott (pictured) to open the sparsely populated state in mid-April

    Vermont has been heralded as a COVID-19 success story despite the decision of Gov Phil Scott (pictured) to open the sparsely populated state in mid-April

    On day 0, the mean hospitalization rate was 17.69 out of every 100,000 people. 

    While it took a while for the effects of the reopening to show in the data, by day 28, the hospitalization rate had increased by 50.4 percent to 26.62 out of 100,000.

    Deaths increased from 0.35 out of every 100,000 people to 1.31 out of every 100,000 as well, a change of less than one death every 100,000 people, 35 days after reopening.

    The data shows that while case rates and hospitalization’s increased, there was not a significant increase in deaths for a long while.

    One of the states that fared the best over Summer was Delaware, which was also the last state to reopen. 

    Delaware dropped to under 100 new cases per day in late May, then reopened with some restrictions on June 1.

    The state kept their case rate relatively low throughout the summer, not breaching the 200 case mark again until October.

    Vermont has been heralded as a success story in dealing with the pandemic as well, though the state had a relatively early reopening in mid-April.

    The relatively sparse northeastern state was recording single digit case numbers for much of the spring and summer.

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