Special Report

COVID-19: How Cases in the Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

The U.S. reported over 463,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending May 10, bringing the total count to more than 81.0 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 990,000 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 19.2 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 15.6 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.

In the 50 largest metro areas, the incidence of COVID-19 grew at an average rate of 22.2 new cases a day per 100,000 residents in the past week — 22.3% greater than the case growth in all counties outside of metro areas.

The Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN metro area consists of Davidson County, Rutherford County, Williamson County, and 10 other counties. As of May 10, there were 29,268.3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Nashville residents, 16.6% higher than the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 25,104.1 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 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin metro area, Trousdale County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of May 10, there were 41,364.5 cases per 100,000 residents in Trousdale County, the most of any county in Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Cheatham County, there were 27,256.7 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin.

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 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin metro area, unemployment peaked at 15.7% in April 2020. As of November 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 3.1%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 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 Tennessee where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 10 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 10 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of May 10 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of May 10 per 100,000 residents
17300 Clarksville, TN-KY 299,470 74,085 24,738.7 890 297.2
32820 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 1,339,623 350,112 26,135.1 4,869 363.5
16860 Chattanooga, TN-GA 556,209 148,285 26,659.9 1,785 320.9
28700 Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA 306,546 86,916 28,353.3 1,447 472.0
28940 Knoxville, TN 853,337 243,765 28,566.1 2,909 340.9
34980 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 1,871,903 547,874 29,268.3 5,543 296.1
27740 Johnson City, TN 202,049 60,447 29,917.0 923 456.8
34100 Morristown, TN 140,912 42,291 30,012.3 727 515.9
17420 Cleveland, TN 122,563 37,899 30,922.1 489 399.0
27180 Jackson, TN 178,442 58,683 32,886.3 867 485.9

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