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RELEASE: New Estimates Show That No States Meet Incidence and Testing Thresholds Necessary To Stave Off Future Outbreaks and Lockdowns

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new column identifying key evidence-based thresholds that states should meet before reopening their economies. The estimates are for both COVID-19 incidence levels—or the rate of occurrence of new cases—and testing thresholds for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They were generated using South Korea as a model, as it is the only sizable country in the world that has been able to control transmission without a lockdown.

The analysis finds that no state currently meets both the incidence and testing thresholds estimated for their state; only eight states — Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia — meet the incidence threshold; and only Rhode Island meets the testing threshold. The estimates are particularly significant given that 31 states have begun to partially reopen.

“The only way to break the paralysis for the long term is for states to have sufficient strategies and resources needed to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Topher Spiro, vice president for Health Policy at CAP. “These estimates suggest that, across the board, states’ decisions to relax stay-at-home efforts are premature and risk a substantial second wave and corresponding economic shutdown. Whether or not a state’s economy is legally open, the public will not engage with it unless and until the virus is contained.”

Please click here to read “Evidence-Based Thresholds States Must Meet To Control Coronavirus Spread and Safely Reopen Their Economies” by Topher Spiro and Emily Gee.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.

To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.