Over 8.3 million COVID-19 infections have been reported in the United States since the pandemic first reached the country, equivalent to more than one in every 50 Americans. More than 220,000 Americans have died from the virus, and with many states showing a recent surge, many speculate this figure could get much higher before a vaccine is finally developed and widely distributed across the country.
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.
After hitting a several-month daily low of just 22,000 new cases on Sept. 8, the number of new daily cases across the country has been on the rise, with more than 50,000 cases reported daily for a week straight. Most states have reported a rise in daily new cases in the past week, and all but one state has at least one county in which cases have been reported at a growing rate.
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. 20 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.
Other than Missouri, there is only one state — Hawaii — that did not have at least one county or county equivalent with a week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases.
However, while all counties on the list are those where the virus is spreading the fastest in their respective states, the virus is spreading much faster in some of them compared to others. For instance, in eight states, the county where COVID-19 is growing fastest recorded an increase of over 50 average daily new cases per 100,000 residents in the week ending Oct. 20 as compared to the week ending Oct. 13. Nationwide, for comparison, the average daily new cases increased by 2.3 cases, from 14.6 per 100,000 to 16.9 per 100,000 in those weeks.
Conversely, in 11 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, many 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.