Special Report

Cities Where COVID-19 Is Growing the Fastest

The number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the United States now exceeds 1.7 million, with more than 100,000 reported deaths. By several measures, including the number of active infections and the number of needed hospital beds, the virus appears to have peaked across much of the country. Here are the counties with the highest number of COVID-19 cases as of May 28

Despite the downward trend in daily new cases, the coronavirus continues to infect thousands of Americans every day. And with most states in the process of at least partially reopening their economies, there is much uncertainty about whether there could be a resurgence of the outbreak. 

The infection rate and spread of the virus has not been uniform nationwide. To assess the cities where COVID-19 is currently spreading the fastest 24/7 Wall St. calculated the average number of daily new cases per capita over the week ending on May 27. This is a comparison of the current situation between cities rather than comparing the progression of local outbreaks over time. 

In a number of the hardest-hit cities where new cases are declining, such as New York City, there are still hundreds of new cases reported daily. Per capita, however, New York is faring better than other cities in how fast the coronavirus is spreading. In other cities, though they may have fewer new daily cases than other major cities, the number of new cases is climbing, and the per capita weekly average suggests a fast spread.

While the number of new cases per day is declining across the country, 221 of the nation’s 386 U.S. metro areas reported higher numbers of daily new cases in the past week than the week prior. The Sioux City, Iowa, metro area, reported fewer average new daily cases compared to last week, but the city still has the fastest growing number of diagnosed cases per capita of any U.S. metro area. With just over 3,000 cases per 100,000 people as of May 27, it is also the metro area with the highest per capita confirmed COVID-19 cases. These are the cities with the most COVID-19 cases. 

With limited understanding of the novel coronavirus, there are varied positions even among public health experts on how to interpret the statistics that are being produced and updated by the hour. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., epidemiologist Mark Seidner, who is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, said, “Most [public health experts] will say there is a massive under reporting in cases, partially because of the testing problem, partially because many people are asymptomatic.” 

“That is why the antibody tests are supposed to help,” he explained. “[T]hey’re supposed to find those asymptomatic to the disease who never got tested.”

Click here to see the cities where COVID-19 is growing the fastest

24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths for the seven days through May 27 from state and local health departments. To determine the cities where the number of confirmed cases per capita is growing the fastest right now, we calculated the average number of new cases per day between May 21 and May 27 for every 100,000 people.