Special Report

This Is the Worst COVID-19 Hot Spot in Each State

The U.S. has reported more than 28,000,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Mar. 2, 2021. More than 490,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 — the highest death toll of any country.

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. Though local outbreaks may ebb and flow, the current surge in cases has been felt nearly nationwide, leading to new travel restrictions and business closures around the country.

Nationwide, there were an average of 20.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans in the week ending Mar. 2, 2021. Cumulatively, the U.S. has reported 8,658.3 cases per 100,000 Americans, and 152.8 deaths per 100,000 Americans.

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.

The coronavirus has spread to different parts of the country in different stages throughout the pandemic. In the spring, the worst hit states were in the Northeast, as New York City became the epicenter of the nation’s crisis. The virus spread to states throughout the Sun Belt in the summer, and hit states in the Midwest and West during the fall. Now, nearly every state is categorized as a COVID-19 hotspot, according to definitions based on new cases per capita from the nonprofit health organization Kaiser Family Foundation.

To determine the county in each state with the highest rate of daily cases of the virus, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked counties according to the average new number of cases per 100,000 residents per day during the week ending Mar. 2, 2021. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates.