SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — 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 pandemic.

Johns Hopkins researchers say states in the northern stretches of the Midwest and Great Plains have seen average daily cases drop in the past two weeks, with decreases ranging from 20% in Iowa to 66% in North Dakota.

Some epidemiologists believe the most compelling factor for many people who redoubled efforts to prevent infections may be that they experienced the virus on a personal level.

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