The spread of COVID-19 has slowed across America. Confirmed cases now total 27,150,906 which is about 25% of the world’s number. Fatal cases have hit 465,861, almost 20% of the world’s figure. Even with the slowdown, 600,000 Americans are forecast to die by June. And, with new mutations of the disease from the U.K., Brazil, and South Africa, there is fear the rapid spread could start again.
The spread of the disease around the nation has been uneven. It was the worst in New York City, Detroit, Chicago, and Boston early on. Deaths in New York State are still the highest among all states, even though it took the brunt of the disease in March and April.
After hitting much of the northeast, the diseased moved south and west. Miami cases skyrocketed and Houston and Phoenix were hit hard. Then, the worst of its moved to Los Angeles and the Plains States, mostly North Dakota and South Dakota.
Even now, some areas, despite the trend of national improvement, are still terribly plagued by the disease. One traditional measure of this is deaths per 100,000 people across an average of 7 days. The hardest-hit state by this measure is Alabama at 2.76. The next state, Tennessee, is well behind by the same yardstick at 1.85.
The hardest-hit county in Alabama is Pickens County, where the figure is 10.87 deaths per 100,000 people over the last 7 days average. It is located west of Tuscaloosa on the border of Mississippi.
Pickens County has a relatively small population of 20,243. It covers 881 square miles, so it is sparsely populated by most measures.
The racial makeup of Pickens County is 54% White and 40% Black. The percentage of Blacks in the county is almost three times the national number.
The median household income in Pickens County is $39,848, about three-fifths the national number. The value of owner-occupied homes is $96,000, well less than half the national figure. The poverty rate is almost 23% which approaches double the national figure.
Pickens County is a microcosm of the trouble in Alabama. According to AL.com, on February 3: “Alabama reported 309 COVID deaths today, the highest figure recorded in a single day.”
The brunt of the disease will move elsewhere. It always has over the year since the COVID-19 pandemic began. However, the situation has been bad enough for Pickens County that the scars will last a long time.