Special Report

States With the Highest Number of COVID-19 Cases

Grant Suneson

There have now been more than 1.5 million reported cases of the coronavirus in the United States, and more than 90,000 Americans have died from the illness as of May 19. No other nation has reached even 300,000 cases.

There have been 454.4 confirmed infections per 100,000 U.S. residents, though rates of COVID-19 cases per capita vary widely across the country. In some states, the number of confirmed cases per capita is around one-tenth the U.S figure. In some of the most affected states, the number of reported cases per capita is nearly four times that of the country as a whole.

Over the last month, it appears that some states have been much less successful in containing the virus than others. Midwestern states like Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas had among the fewest cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents in the country in late April, but now have more cases per capita than the majority of states.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on confirmed COVID-19 cases as reported by local and state government health agencies as of May 18, 2020, to determine the states with the highest number of cases per capita. We calculated the confirmed cases for every 100,000 people in each state using one-year population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. 

Unlike many other countries, the U.S. has not enforced a nationwide strategy of restrictions on movement and closures of nonessential businesses to curb the spread of the virus. Instead, the decisions on how to best address the pandemic have been left to state and local governments, with mixed results. While some areas are successfully flattening the curve of new infections, other major metro areas have reported hundreds of new cases over the past week. These are the cities where COVID-19 is growing the fastest.

The strict social distancing measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus and prevent it from overwhelming the U.S. health care system came at a great economic cost. More than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment amid the pandemic. In some states, more than a third of workers have filed for unemployment in the last two months. These are every state’s unemployment claims since COVID-19 shut down the economy.

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