OPEN Republican-led states Texas and Florida are reporting fewer Covid-19 cases than the likes of New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – which all still have restrictions and mask mandates in place.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott faced fierce scrutiny for reversing the Lone Star State's mask mandate on March 10 and completely reopening its economy, with President Biden calling the move "neanderthal thinking".
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also faced criticism for "endangering" his state's most vulnerable residents when he permitted businesses to reopen in September without enforcing mask-wearing.
However, each of the two Republican-led states has managed to keep case positivity rates down while also kick-starting their economic recoveries.
Meanwhile, Democrat-fronted Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan – who are all still bound to ongoing coronavirus restrictions – have led the daily increases in Covid-19 cases, data shows.
Between March 29 and April 4, the three blue states along with New Jersey accounted for 44 percent of all new infections – or around 197,500 of the 452,000 cases reported nationwide during that time.
Data from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) shows that Michigan has become the nation's latest hot-spot for infections and hospitalizations.
In the last seven days, the state reported 390.2 cases of the virus per 100,000.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has blamed the surge on spring breakers returning to the state from Florida.
Whitmer has urged anyone returning from the Sunshine State to isolate at home for a week or have their children learn remotely for at least seven days.
But other factors accelerating the virus' spread include more contagious variants – such as the "super mutation" of coronavirus found in Britain – having a stronger hold in Michigan than in other states.
Pennsylvania is also currently grappling with a troubling rise in infections and hospitalizations, with state health officials reporting 221.4 cases per 100,000 in the last week.
New York City, meanwhile, has reported 206.1 cases per 100,000 in the last seven days, while the rest of the state has accounted for 176.4 cases per 100,000 over the last week.
That number represents a 24 percent drop for the week ending Sunday, declining from 42,318 to 32,181 new cases over the past two weeks.
However, data from Johns Hopkins University shows New York is still ranked the 10th among states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis.
"New Yorkers are staying safe, getting vaccinated, and following the public health guidance, and we're seeing a decrease in the numbers as a result of their efforts," Gov. Andrew Cuomo assured in a statement Sunday.
But New Yorkers are said the be growing increasingly frustrated with Cuomo's mask mandate and other Covid-19 measures, including capped capacity for indoor dining.
The Biden administration has repeatedly stressed the importance of mask-wearing and pushed for mandates to be enacted nationwide.
Though on Sunday the US' top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said he expects the CDC to issue updated guidelines on wearing masks outside in the coming weeks.
"Obviously the risk is really very low, particularly if you're vaccinated," Fauci said of the matter on Sunday, adding the move is "common sense".
"I believe what the country is going to be hearing soon is updated guidelines from the CDC," he told ABC. "The data backs it up."
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