Fairly quickly, the pace at which new COVID-19 cases per day have grown has fallen off. Still, the United States has 27,438,560 confirmed cases, which is 119,291 more than yesterday. That is about half the rate of several weeks ago. American cases are about a quarter of the world’s total. Fatal cases have reached 472,335, up by 3,656. That total is about a fifth of the world figure. The pace of the increase in deaths per day continues to be near its high point. The worry remains that deaths could reach 600,000 before the summer.
Among the most widely reported statistics about COVID-19 are confirmed cases, fatal cases and hospitalizations by state and county. These figures are often reported measured against 100,000 people so that comparisons can be made from place to place. Another yardstick used to mark the spread and intensity of the disease is cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. Places with a count at the high end of this metric are those where COVID-19 is spreading the fastest.
The metro area with the highest number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days is Eagle Pass, Texas. Its count on this basis is 133.1, which makes it the only city with a number of over 100.
Eagle Pass sits on the Mexican border, almost due west of San Antonio, another city where the recent cases per 100,000 count is extremely high. This region of Texas has had high case counts for the entire month of February. Eagle Pass has a population of 58,722.
The population of the city is almost 95% Hispanic. The median household income there is $42,901, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which is well below the national level. Some 27% of people there live in poverty, which approaches three times the national figure. Note that poor and minority populations in the United States often have had higher infection and death rates than the more affluent and white parts of the country.
The situation in Eagle Pass and the surrounding areas is bad enough that the state recently took action. According to the State of Reform nonprofit, which tracks health care and health care policy, on January 27: “Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has deployed 80 military medical personnel from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force to assist in the COVID-19 response in Abilene, Lufkin, and Eagle Pass.”
The worst areas of the surge of the disease will move from Eagle Pass to other parts of the country. That has been the pattern in the year since the pandemic started. However, the scars of the disease will remain for a very long time.