Arizona Is America’s Covid-19 Hot Spot and on the Brink of Crisis

Hospitals are close to full in state with most coronavirus infections and hospitalizations per capita in nation

As new coronavirus variants sweep across the world, scientists are racing to understand how dangerous they could be. WSJ explains. Illustration: Alex Kuzoian/WSJ

Arizona has the highest Covid-19 infection rate in the U.S. and is on the brink of running out of space in crowded hospitals, according to public-health and hospital officials.

The state hit a record for new infections last week, with 11,324 in a single day. It has the highest per capita rate of new Covid-19 infections in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the highest rate of Covid-19 hospitalizations, according to the Covid tracking project.

As of Monday, roughly 16% of Covid-19 tests in the state were coming back positive, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and health officials estimate that one in 10 residents is currently infected.

“We’re the hottest spot in the U.S. and among the hottest spots in the entire world,” said Keith Frey, chief medical officer for hospital chain Dignity Health’s Arizona division. “If we don’t slow this down over the course of the next days and weeks, then we will be fully into that crisis zone.”

Mr. Frey spoke at a press conference Wednesday where the heads of Arizona’s largest health systems gathered to express how dire the situation has become.

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