Experts: COVID-19 is spreading in Hawaii at a faster rate than anywhere else in the nation

Experts: COVID-19 is spreading in Hawaii at a faster rate than anywhere else in the nation
Hawaii is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii is regularly seeing triple-digit increases in COVID-19 infections, a situation that underscores just how fast the virus is spreading in Hawaii.

Scientists actually track that rate of spread ― or reproduction rate.

And experts say that Hawaii now has the highest reproduction rate in the nation, at 1.6. In other words, every person who gets sick is passing the virus on to 1.6 other individuals on average.

“That is very, very high,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Anything above 1 means the virus is spreading quickly. The next closest state is South Dakota, at 1.2. In Texas, the number is 1.16.

Dr. Scott Miscovich, who has overseen mass testing events statewide and on the mainland, said Hawaii’s reproduction rate is bad news.

“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,” he said.

“We are spreading it in closed respiratory environments. Get outside. It’s very serious.”

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