The U.S. surpassed 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on April 27, by far the most of any country and accounting for about a third of all cases worldwide. There have been more than 56,000 deaths related to the disease. The coronavirus has spread at a widely different rate and pace from state to state. New York has the highest reported rate of confirmed cases, at nearly 1,500 per 100,000 residents — over 35 times the rate of the state with the lowest rate.
To determine the states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths as reported by local and state government health agencies. We calculated the confirmed cases and deaths for every 100,000 state residents using one-year population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. The number of cases per capita appears closely related to testing rates and population density as well as how early a state reported its first case. We included this information for every state.
The states testing larger shares of their populations are reporting higher confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. Eight of the 10 states with the most COVID-19 cases per capita have been testing at higher rates than the U.S. average of 17.4 tests per 1,000 people.
The end of April marks a shift in the way some parts of the country are handling the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 28, nine states have begun to partially reopen their economies, allowing barber shops, tattoo parlors, and other businesses to operate. On April 30, seven other states are set to let their stay-at-home orders lapse. This is every state’s rules for staying at home and social distancing.
Epidemiologists and the White House have cautioned that easing social distancing restrictions could lead to a resurgence of cases, especially when combined with a relatively low testing rate. Just under 5.7 million Americans have been tested, or 1.7% of the nation’s total population. These are the states where the virus is spreading the fastest.