Special Report

States With the Highest Number of COVID-19 Cases

As of May 5, the United States had over 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. Nearly 71,000 cases have been fatal. The novel coronavirus has spread very differently from state to state. New York’s case rate of over 1,600 per 100,000 residents is nearly 40 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. COVID-19 test statistics are for the most recent day for which data is available — 5/4. Population density statistics were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 decennial census.

States are beginning to pull back on their social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders. As of May 5, most states either let their stay-at-home orders expire, or never implemented them at all. 

Mark Seidner, associate professor of infectious diseases at Harvard University and clinician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, said reopening the economy “is in some ways a true experiment” because it is such an unprecedented situation. He added that “the worst thing that can happen is that we do this blindly, without measuring its effects, clearly and carefully, and understanding what’s working or what’s not working.” Here’s when every state plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions.

These states are reopening in an attempt to get their labor force back to work. The U.S. has experienced an unprecedented economic crisis in the wake of the coronavirus, with more than 30 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits since mid-March. 

States with economies that rely on certain especially vulnerable industries have faced a much more severe unemployment problem than others. These are every state’s unemployment claims since COVID-19 shut the economy down.

Click here to see the states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases

In the absence of a vaccine, social distancing is considered the best available means to slow the spread of an infectious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from one another, not gather in groups, and stay out of crowded places.