Special Report

COVID-19: How Cases in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

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 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI metro area consists of Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and 11 other counties. As of July 20, there were 10,694.0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Chicago residents, roughly in line with the national rate. 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 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area, Jasper County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of July 20, there were 11,881.5 cases per 100,000 residents in Jasper County, the most of any county in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Newton County, there were 8,633.5 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin.

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 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area, unemployment peaked at 17.6% in April 2020. As of May 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 7.7%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-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 Illinois 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
28100 Kankakee, IL 110,637 14,674 13,263.2 223 201.6
19180 Danville, IL 77,563 10,121 13,048.7 152 196.0
37900 Peoria, IL 406,883 51,553 12,670.2 837 205.7
40420 Rockford, IL 338,356 41,257 12,193.4 600 177.3
14010 Bloomington, IL 172,578 18,658 10,811.3 193 111.8
16980 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 9,508,605 1,016,846 10,694.0 17,125 180.1
16060 Carbondale-Marion, IL 137,573 14,511 10,547.9 219 159.2
19500 Decatur, IL 105,528 11,061 10,481.6 214 202.8
16580 Champaign-Urbana, IL 226,323 22,812 10,079.4 171 75.6
44100 Springfield, IL 209,167 20,594 9,845.7 255 121.9