14 states and Puerto Rico hit highest seven-day average of new COVID-19 infections


Even as curves have bent, the numbers are still too high, and the 36-65,000 death toll from Trump’s inaction remains part of the 114,000 US death toll.

If the pandemic’s first wave burned through dense metro hubs such as New York City, Chicago and Detroit, the highest percentages of new cases are coming from places with much smaller populations: Lincoln County, Ore., an area of less than 50,000, has averaged 20 new daily cases; the Bear River Health District in northern Utah has averaged 78 new cases a day in the past week, most of them tied to an outbreak at a meat processing plant in the small town of Hyrum.

The increase of coronavirus cases in counties with fewer than 60,000 people is part of the trend of new infections surging across the rural United States. Health experts worry those areas, already short of resources before the pandemic, will struggle to track new cases with the infrastructure that remains.


What’s happening, in fact, is that Trump is losing, that he has been unable to expand his support and is relying on his 2016 strategy of being the best-liked disliked candidate in order to win. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows that this isn’t working and that Biden’s margin of support over Trump remains both constant and a function of his own relative popularity compared to the incumbent president.

Consider it from another perspective. If we look at the distribution of the margins between the candidates over the last 250 days, you can see that the Trump-Biden contest in 2020 has operated on a much more narrow range — spread over a range of only 3.5 points. In 2016, the range was more than 12 points.

Of course, there are 150 days to go in which to see similar shifts. If we compare an equivalent period, from 250 to 150 days before the election, 2020 still stands out. In 2012, the contest between Obama and Mitt Romney only covered 4.5 points, but that’s still a wider range than what the current race has seen.

The particular problem for Trump here, of course, is that the range isn’t hovering around the midpoint of the graph. Instead, it’s hovering in a position that gives Biden a 4- to 8-point national margin. A 4-point win in the popular vote might not be enough for Biden to win the electoral college, depending on how things shake out. An 8-point win, though, almost certainly would be.


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