On Aug. 31, state and local health authorities reported 31,658 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the lowest total for a single day in over two months. Overall, daily new confirmed infections seem to be trending down from their peak in mid-July. But there are still some places in the country where the spread of COVID-19 cases increased in the last week, compared to the week before.
Using data from state and local health departments, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed the average number of new daily confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week ending Aug. 31 and compared it to the average from the previous week to determine the cities where the virus is growing the fastest. For comparison purposes, we adjusted the number of confirmed cases per 100,000 people. We excluded metropolitan areas with fewer than 20 new daily cases as of the most recent week.
These cities are concentrated in two areas — the South and the Midwest, each of which is home to 15 of the 32 cities with the largest week-over-week increase in daily new cases per capita. For weeks, Southern cities have accounted for a large share of the cities on this list, but the presence of so many Midwestern cities is a relatively recent phenomenon. Texas is the only state with five cities on the list, followed by Indiana with three and Iowa and Georgia with two apiece. These are the states where the spread of COVID-19 is slowing and where it is getting worse.
The majority of the metro areas on this list are home to large colleges or universities. A number of Midwestern colleges like the University of Iowa, Iowa State, and the University of Kansas have reported hundreds of cases among their student populations since fall 2020 classes began. This influx of thousands of students now living in close proximity is one of the reasons the cities these schools are located in now rank among the cities where COVID-19 is growing the fastest. This is every state’s plan to reopen schools in the fall.