Special Report

COVID-19: Laredo, TX Metro Area Among the Most Dangerous in America

The U.S. reported over 700,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending May 22, bringing the total count to more than 82.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 993,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a faster rate. In the past week, there were an average of 29.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — an increase from the week prior, when there were an average of 22.7 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 30.6 new cases a day per 100,000 residents in the past week — 11.1% greater than the case growth in all counties outside of metro areas.

The Laredo, TX metro area consists of just Webb County. As of May 22, there were 35,225.9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Laredo residents, the seventh highest rate of all 383 metro areas with available data. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 25,431.1 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

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 Laredo metro area, unemployment peaked at 14.3% in May 2020. As of November 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 5.7%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Laredo, TX 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 Texas where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 22 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 22 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of May 22 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of May 22 per 100,000 residents
29700 Laredo, TX 273,526 96,352 35,225.9 1,036 378.8
41660 San Angelo, TX 117,986 41,133 34,862.6 553 468.7
31180 Lubbock, TX 316,474 97,314 30,749.4 1,413 446.5
41700 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 2,468,193 686,798 27,825.9 7,866 318.7
17780 College Station-Bryan, TX 258,029 70,587 27,356.2 557 215.9
18580 Corpus Christi, TX 428,548 111,331 25,978.7 1,835 428.2
15180 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 421,666 105,400 24,996.1 2,034 482.4
21340 El Paso, TX 836,062 208,924 24,989.1 3,734 446.6
11100 Amarillo, TX 263,776 65,771 24,934.4 1,281 485.6
48660 Wichita Falls, TX 141,999 34,750 24,472.0 714 502.8
32580 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 855,176 207,715 24,289.2 3,910 457.2
33260 Midland, TX 173,816 42,144 24,246.3 521 299.7
19100 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 7,320,663 1,765,890 24,122.0 18,765 256.3
47380 Waco, TX 268,361 64,555 24,055.3 967 360.3
36220 Odessa, TX 160,579 37,584 23,405.3 703 437.8
26420 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 6,884,138 1,603,593 23,294.0 15,974 232.0
10180 Abilene, TX 170,669 39,255 23,000.7 890 521.5
45500 Texarkana, TX-AR 149,292 33,155 22,208.2 718 480.9
12420 Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 2,114,441 462,075 21,853.3 3,583 169.5
43300 Sherman-Denison, TX 131,014 27,176 20,742.8 636 485.4
28660 Killeen-Temple, TX 444,716 90,634 20,380.2 1,205 271.0
47020 Victoria, TX 99,674 20,163 20,228.9 445 446.5
46340 Tyler, TX 227,449 45,619 20,056.8 968 425.6
30980 Longview, TX 284,796 55,427 19,462.0 1,334 468.4
13140 Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX 395,174 76,671 19,401.8 1,449 366.7

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