There have been nearly 1.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States to date — by far the most of any country in the world. The virus’s spread across the country has not been even, however, as over half of all known U.S. cases have been reported in just eight major metropolitan areas.
Using COVID-19 data from state and local health departments along with population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed confirmed COVID-19 cases in nearly 400 U.S. metro areas to identify the 50 cities with the most cumulative cases, adjusted for the population. In the metro areas on this list, infection rates range from 511 cases to 2,451 cases for every 100,000 people. For context, as of May 12, there were about 431 cases of the virus for every 100,000 people nationwide.
The cities on this list tend to have at least one of several characteristics that make them particularly vulnerable. Most cities on this list, for example, are densely populated. Others, like Detroit and Indianapolis, are manufacturing hubs, connected to the world as a link in an international supply chain. In other cases, metro areas like Atlantic City and New York, are magnets for domestic and international tourism.
Regardless of the contributing factors to the high concentration of COVID-19 cases in the metro areas on this list, the total number of cases would likely have been much higher if not for the stay-at-home orders that were implemented at the state level. It is worth noting that the metro area with the most known cases of COVID-19 per capita lies primarily in Iowa, one of the few states not to implement a stay-at-home order. Here is a state-by-state look at rules for staying at home and social distancing.
The metropolitan areas on this list span the country. Many fall within the borders of particularly hard-hit states. These include Massachusetts, which is the primary state for four metro areas on this list, and Louisiana, which is home to six. Even some states with relatively low concentrations of COVID-19, like Arkansas and Texas, have at least one metro area that has become a hotspot for the coronavirus. Here is a complete list of states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases.