Special Report

States With the Highest Number of COVID-19 Cases

As the U.S. approaches 4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, local health officials are reporting more cases per day than at any previous point. The virus is concentrated now in states that had relatively few confirmed cases not long ago. On June 22, there were seven states with at least 100,000 cumulative confirmed infections. As of July 20, there are now 10, with several more on pace to hit that threshold within a week.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on confirmed COVID-19 cases, as reported by local and state government health agencies since the outbreak began, to determine the states with the highest number of confirmed cases per capita. We calculated the total number of COVID-19 diagnoses per 100,000 residents since the start of the outbreak in each state using one-year population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. Data is as of July 19 for all states except Oregon, for which data is as of July 17.

For months, New Jersey has ranked second behind New York for the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita. It now ranks third, as Arizona’s skyrocketing case count has vaulted the Western state to over 2,000 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. Arizona is on pace to overtake New York soon as the state with the most cases per capita — it added an average of 45 new cases per day during the week of July 13-19, the second highest rate of increase. New York recorded less than four new cases per day per 100,000 residents, the eighth smallest increase. 

Midwestern and Eastern states are falling in the rankings — Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Indiana have all improved their standing significantly. Meanwhile, many Southern and Western states now rank higher among the states with the most COVID-19 cases per capita than they did a month ago. South Carolina, Texas, and Nevada have among the highest share of cases, despite being among the lowest in late June.

Georgia and Alabama both had just over 600 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents on June 22. By July 19, both states’ cases per capita more than doubled to over 1,300 diagnoses per 100,000. Florida’s cases per capita more than tripled during that time — up from 471 per 100,000 to 1,644 per 100,000.

The governors of each of these states have taken different measures to try to get the spread of COVID-19 under control. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis closed bars in June, but decided to allow gyms to continue to operate. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued an order making masks mandatory in public, despite saying previously she would not do so just weeks earlier. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp not only declined to roll back reopenings or issue a mask order, he mandated that local governments in Georgia cannot enforce a mask order of their own, and sued Atlanta mayor Keisha Bottoms for attempting one. These are every state’s rules for reopening and social distancing.

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