America has 3,143 counties and equivalents (Louisiana calls them parishes). Among those, only one does not have a single COVID-19 case. It is Kalawao County, Hawaii, which is the smallest one in the United States, based on both its size and population.
At the other end of the spectrum, several of America’s largest counties have hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases and thousands of fatal ones. The biggest of all is Los Angeles County. With 10,105,518 residents, it is twice the size of America’s next largest county. Los Angeles County has 344,675 cases, which is more than most states, and 7,335 fatalities.
Cook County, which is home to Chicago, is the second-largest county in America, with 5,180,493 residents. It has posted 268,284 confirmed cases and 6,148 deaths. Harris County, home to Houston follows. Its population totals 4,698,619. Harris County has 177,466 confirmed cases and 2,943 deaths.
Kalawao County has only 86 residents, according to U.S. Census estimated for 2019. According to the U.S. decennial census, its population has dropped every 10 years since 1900.
Kalawao County covers 53 square miles, of which nearly three-quarters are underwater. It does not have a single government official. Government functions are handled by nearby Maui County.
Hawaii has very few confirmed cases at 17,302. Its confirmed case rate at 6.9 per 100,000 is the lowest among all states. The state has recorded 231 fatal cases, or 0.01 per 100,000 people. By this measure, only Vermont and Alaska have better numbers.
Hawaii effectively has cordoned itself off from most of the rest of America. It has extremely strict rules about who can enter the state. Social distancing and mask-wearing are almost universally practiced. According to SFGate, “Under the modified Safe Travels program, which begins Tuesday, Nov. 24, arriving passengers must have already received their negative results before landing, or they will be required to quarantine for 14 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter.”
If there is a county that is safe from COVID-19’s future spread, it is Kalawao County, because of Hawaii’s regulations, its remoteness and its extremely small population.