The spread of COVID-19 in America has slowed considerably in the past month. However, over 500,000 people have died in America, which is about 20% of the world’s total coronavirus death count. U.S. fatality rates were over 4,000 per day in January, but that has dropped below 2,000. The United States has over 28 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. Some experts believe the true figure may be closer to 70 million, due to undiagnosed cases.
Aside from a press for people to wear masks, social distance and wash hands, the largest defense against the disease is vaccines, which were introduced in December. The first two approved were from Pfizer and Moderna. At the end of December, the Trump administration said that in the early part of 2021, tens of millions of people would be vaccinated. That did not come true. Today, less than 14% of adult Americans have received at least one dose. Only about 6% have received two doses. President Biden said that his administration has ordered 200 million vaccines that will be delivered before mid-summer.
Another wildcard in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the United States is the variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is watching three variants very carefully. One is from Brazil, another from South Africa and the third from the United Kingdom. The U.K. variant spreads relatively quickly and could become the dominant version by late March.
Some parts of the United States have had very little relief. One means to measure this problem is by fatal cases per 100,000 people. This allows experts to measure counties and states against one another regardless of population size.
Five American counties have been very hard hit by COVID-19 deaths. Each has a cumulative death rate of more than seven per 100,000 on average over the past 14 days.
The worst off is Arthur County, Nebraska. Its rate is 17.06, almost twice the next county on the list. It is in the western part of the state, northeast of the Colorado border.
Arthur County’s population is only 463, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and over 94% of them are white. The county is relatively poor. The median household income is $42,813, which is over $20,000 below the national average, and the poverty rate is 13.6%, well above the national number.
Next on the list of deadliest counties, McMullen, Texas, comes in at 10.79. It is in the southern part of the state, which is an area where the disease has spread aggressively over the past several weeks.
Taliaferro County, Georgia, has an average of 8.58 per 100,000 residents. It is followed by Ashland, Ohio, at 7.35 and Glascock County, Georgia, at 7.12
Of the five counties, only one has a population of over 5,000. Ashland County has 53,477 residents. This shows how badly small counties have been hit, although most medical accounts are about large counties, such as the largest in the country, Los Angeles County, with a population of over 10 million.
The list also shows how widespread the deadliest pockets of the disease are. Even as its growth overall falls off, it continues to affect the nation nearly coast to coast.