A reprieve from a devastating surge of the coronavirus across the Upper Midwest has given cautious relief to health officials, though they worry that infections remain rampant and holiday gatherings could reignite the worst outbreaks of the pandemicBy STEPHEN GROVES and JOSH FUNK Associated PressDecember 25, 2020, 10:30 PM• 5 min readSIOUX FALLS, S.D. — As much of the country experiences spiking virus rates, a reprieve from a devastating surge of the coronavirus in the Upper Midwest has given cautious relief to health officials, though they worry that infections remain rampant and holiday gatherings could reignite the worst outbreaks of the pandemic.States in the northern stretches of the Midwest and Great Plains saw the nation’s worst rates of coronavirus infections in the weeks before Thanksgiving, stretching hospitals beyond capacity and leading to states such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin reporting some of the nation’s highest deaths per capita during November.But over the last two weeks, those states have seen their average daily cases drop, with decreases ranging from 20% in Iowa to as much as 66% in North Dakota, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. Since the middle of November, the entire region has returned to levels


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