The U.S. reported a record 500,000 new cases in a single week in late October, and now a number of European countries have started to reintroduce lockdowns or other restrictions. Over 8.3 million COVID-19 infections have been reported in the United States so far, equivalent to more than one in every 50 Americans. And with the majority of U.S. states reporting record highs in new cases in October, all signs point to the coronavirus pandemic continuing to disrupt American way of life for some time to come.
While cases are rising in most parts of 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.
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. 26 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. Every state has at least one county or county equivalent in which cases have been reported at a growing rate. 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.
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. Fifteen states reported an increase of over 50 average daily new cases per 100,000 residents in the week ending Oct. 26 as compared to the week ending Oct. 19. Meanwhile, in a dozen states, the county with the fastest spread reported a week-over-week increase of 10 or fewer new daily cases, on average. Nationwide, for comparison, the average daily new cases increased by about 3 per 100,000. These are the states where the spread of the virus is slowing, and where it is getting worse.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, some of the worst hotspots are tied to residential facilities such as prisons and assisted living facilities. For instance, in Norton County, Kansas, an outbreak at a nursing home in October resulted in infections among the majority of the staff as well as all of the dozens of residents there. Norton County reported the highest seven-day average of new weekly cases per capita as well as the second highest increase of any country.