The spread of COVID-19 appears to be slowing across the U.S. Though daily new cases reported nationwide over the past month tended to be much higher than they were in April and May, they were lower than when the pandemic surged peaked in July.
However, this national trend of declining daily COVID-19 cases is not uniform across the country. In fact, there are two dozen major metro areas where cases have been surging. These areas reported more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past month than they did in the previous five months combined, dating back to the start of the pandemic.
Using data from state and local health departments, 24/7 Wall St. determined the major U.S. metro areas in which the number of total confirmed COVID-19 cases doubled from Aug. 13 to Sept. 13.
The vast majority of these metro areas — 17 out of 24 — are in the Midwest. There are three apiece in the West and South, and one is in the Northeast. A number of Midwestern states are reporting very high rates of new daily cases per capita, compared to the country overall. Even though many Midwestern cities have reported week-over-week declines in average daily COVID-19 cases per capita, several Midwestern states have reported two or even three times as many new daily cases per capita in the past week than the U.S. overall. These are the states where the virus is spreading and where it is getting worse.
There is another factor linking most of the places on this list — the majority are home to at least one major college or university. Most colleges closed down in the earlier months of the pandemic, cutting their semesters short or turning to online education. Now that some schools are letting students back on campus for the fall, cases are spiking in the small, close-knit campus communities, causing COVID-19 cases in the surrounding areas to increase as well. These are the colleges that reopened and then saw a spike in cases.