Special Report

COVID-19: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area Among the Safest in America

The U.S. reported over 1,325,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending September 14, bringing the total count to more than 40.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 655,000 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 46.1 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 47.0 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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV metro area consists of Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and 22 other counties. As of September 14, there were 8,453.8 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Washington residents, the 32nd lowest rate of all 383 metro areas with available data. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 12,636.9 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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area, Manassas city has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of September 14, there were 11,179.4 cases per 100,000 residents in Manassas city, the most of any county in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Fairfax city, there were 2,600.8 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria.

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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area, unemployment peaked at 10.1% in April 2020. As of May 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 5.4%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 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.

Click here to see all current COVID-19 data for Washington D.C.