Special Report

COVID-19: How Cases in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

The U.S. reported over 16,000 new cases of coronavirus on June 10, bringing the total count to more than 33.0 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 592,000 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 5.6 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 5.6 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.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA metro area consists of Black Hawk County, Bremer County, and Grundy County. As of June 10, there were 11,941.8 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Waterloo residents, 16.6% higher than the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 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 Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area, Black Hawk County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of June 10, there were 12,086.7 cases per 100,000 residents in Black Hawk County, the most of any county in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, yet not too far from the county with the lowest incidence. In Grundy County, there were 11,131.0 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Waterloo-Cedar Falls.

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 Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area, unemployment peaked at 11.6% in April 2020. As of March 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 4.3%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA 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 Iowa where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Jun 10 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Jun 10 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of Jun 10 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of Jun 10 per 100,000 residents
43580 Sioux City, IA-NE-SD 143,846 21,995 15,290.7 346 240.5
20220 Dubuque, IA 96,982 13,482 13,901.5 210 216.5
19780 Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 680,439 82,317 12,097.6 948 139.3
47940 Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA 169,556 20,248 11,941.8 403 237.7
19340 Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL 381,175 42,061 11,034.6 672 176.3
11180 Ames, IA 123,311 13,387 10,856.3 82 66.5
26980 Iowa City, IA 170,677 17,162 10,055.3 136 79.7
16300 Cedar Rapids, IA 270,056 26,735 9,899.8 450 166.6