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After initially striking the Northeast and Pacific Northwest, covid-19 has spread throughout the country, and now the states with the highest new cases per capita are those across the South and Southwest. The Bible Belt, which stretches from South Carolina, through the Deep South, west across Texas and Arizona, has seen high numbers of cases. Support our journalism. Subscribe today. And although the United States has seen cases everywhere, these states’ early reopening plans and hands-off measures, most recently a ban by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on local mask requirements, reflect a cultural emphasis on prioritizing freedom from government dictate — and an anti-science bias rooted in the history of the region. Full story

4 August