Special Report

COVID-19: Appleton, WI Metro Area Among the Most Dangerous in America

The U.S. reported over 289,000 new cases of coronavirus on July 20, bringing the total count to more than 33.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 603,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a steady rate. In the past week, there were an average of 7.5 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 4.5 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Appleton, WI metro area consists of Outagamie County and Calumet County. As of July 20, there were 12,958.1 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Appleton residents, the 41st highest rate of all 383 metro areas with available data. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 10,449.4 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The incidence of coronavirus cases depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Appleton metro area, Calumet County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of July 20, there were 13,116.9 cases per 100,000 residents in Calumet County, the most of any county in Appleton, yet not too far from the county with the lowest incidence. In Outagamie County, there were 12,915.5 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Appleton.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the Appleton metro area, unemployment peaked at 13.0% in April 2020. As of May 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 3.3%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Appleton, WI metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Wisconsin where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of July 20 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of July 20 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of July 20 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of July 20 per 100,000 residents
24580 Green Bay, WI 319,401 43,622 13,657.4 413 129.3
22540 Fond du Lac, WI 102,597 13,907 13,555.0 142 138.4
39540 Racine, WI 195,602 25,403 12,987.1 399 204.0
11540 Appleton, WI 235,628 30,533 12,958.1 300 127.3
43100 Sheboygan, WI 115,178 14,862 12,903.5 169 146.7
36780 Oshkosh-Neenah, WI 170,411 21,550 12,645.9 228 133.8
33340 Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI 1,575,223 194,183 12,327.3 2,380 151.1
48140 Wausau-Weston, WI 163,140 19,737 12,098.2 324 198.6
20740 Eau Claire, WI 167,406 19,769 11,809.0 219 130.8
27500 Janesville-Beloit, WI 162,152 18,452 11,379.4 209 128.9
29100 La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN 136,542 15,331 11,228.0 107 78.4
31540 Madison, WI 653,725 58,743 8,985.9 451 69.0