Special Report

Counties in Every State Where COVID-19 Is Growing the Fastest Right Now

It has been seven months since COVID-19 was declared a national emergency in the United States, and in that time, nearly 220,000 Americans died from the novel coronavirus — by far the highest death toll of any country. A study published earlier this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that the American death toll could reach as high as 400,000 by the end of 2020.  The virus has spread throughout the country in a way that has been difficult to predict, surging in one region, then showing signs of improvement, and then reappearing in other regions. Many states where the outbreak appeared to be largely under control have experienced resurgences in cases in recent months.

The extent of the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to vary considerably from state to state, and even from county to county. Even as the number of daily new cases is flattening or even declining in some parts of the country, new cases are surging at a growing rate in others.

Since Sept. 9, the number of new daily cases across the country has fluctuated between 30,000 and 56,000 per day, fewer than during the alarming surge that occurred this summer, but more than during the initial months of the pandemic. And though some states continue to report relatively low figures compared to their peaks this spring and summer, every state but one has at least one county in which cases have been growing.

Using data from state and local health departments, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed the average of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week ending Oct. 12 and compared it to the previous week to determine the county in each state where the virus is spreading the fastest, adjusted for the population. We excluded counties with populations of fewer than 5,000 people, as well as those with fewer than 20 reported new cases in the past 14 days. Because up-to-date data was not available for Missouri, that state was excluded from our list.  

Though every state, for which there is sufficient data, had at least one county or county equivalent with a week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases, the virus is spreading much faster in some of these counties compared to others. For instance, in nine states, the county where COVID-19 is growing fastest recorded an increase of over 50 daily average new cases per 100,000 residents in the week ending Oct. 12 as compared to the week ending Oct. 4. Nationwide, for comparison, the number of average daily new cases increased by 1.2 cases, from 13.1 per 100,000 to 14.3 per 100,000.  

Conversely, in 12 states, no county recorded an increase of more than 10 average daily new cases per 100,000 residents week-over-week. The majority of these states are on the West Coast or in the Northeast. Unsurprisingly, nearly all of these states had among the lowest average daily new cases per 100,000 residents in the past week. These are the states where the spread of the virus is slowing, and where it is getting worse.

Click here to see the counties in every state where COVID 19 is growing the fastest right now.