PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The numbers began ticking up in September. After a quiet summer, doctors at Rhode Island Hospital began seeing one or two patients with Covid-19 on each shift — and soon three. Then four.
Cases climbed steadily until early December, when Rhode Island earned the dubious distinction of having more cases and deaths per 100,000 people than any other state in the country. The case rate still puts it among the top five states.
Where did this tightly knit state go wrong? Former Gov. Gina Raimondo’s “pauses” on economic activity were short-lived and partial, leaving open indoor dining, shopping malls and bowling alleys. But the shutdowns were no patchier than those in many other states.
Until late summer, she was lauded for reining in the virus. Even now, few residents blame her for the bleak numbers. (Ms. Raimondo was sworn in as the secretary of commerce on Wednesday night.)
led to an outbreak of at least 29 employees and nine patients. It’s a phenomenon seen in hospitals throughout the United States.