Over half of US counties have had zero COVID-19 deaths

By Norbert Michel | The Daily Signal

With many state and local governments starting to relax stay-at-home orders, it’s instructive to examine just how concentrated the spread of COVID-19 has been in the U.S.

Although all U.S. states have reported cases of COVID-19, the distribution of the cases and deaths has remained heavily concentrated in a small number of states, and among a small number of counties within all states.

For instance, as of May 4, just 10 states account for 70% of all U.S. cases and 77% of all deaths. Together, New York and New Jersey alone account for 38% of all cases and 48% of total COVID-19 deaths.

Just five states—New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California—account for 54% of all of the confirmed cases in the U.S. and 61% of all coronavirus deaths.

These state-level figures do not, however, adequately describe the concentrated nature of the spread of COVID-19.

As the first chart shows, the 30 counties with the most COVID-19 cases account for 50% of all the cases in the U.S. (and 57% of all deaths). That is, just 1% of the counties in the U.S. are responsible for half of the country’s coronavirus cases and more than half of the deaths.

Of those 30 counties, 24 are in the Northeast corridor between Philadelphia and Boston, the passageway served by a commuter railway system that runs through Manhattan. Overall, just 11% of the counties in the U.S. contain nearly 95% of all the COVID-19 deaths.

Just as important, as the second chart shows, 52% of all U.S. counties have had zero COVID-19 deaths as of May 4.

Also as of May 4, 13 states have deaths that remain unallocated to respective counties. At most, those allocations could reduce the number of zero-death counties by 2 percentage points.

The chart also illustrates that 66% of all U.S. counties have no more than one coronavirus death, 80% have five or fewer, 86% have 10 or fewer, and 89% have fewer than 15.

Put another way, only about 10% of the counties in the U.S. have more than 15 or more COVID-19 deaths, and throughout the epidemic, the spread of COVID has remained highly concentrated in a handful of geographic locations in the U.S.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Felipe Esquivel Reed
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6 thoughts on “Over half of US counties have had zero COVID-19 deaths

  1. Hello to “Fear Mongering”, “Panic” and “Government Overreach”. Goodbye to “Common Sense”, “Constitutional Freedoms / Rights” and “Herd Immunity”.
    Welcome to 2020, the new face of Lame Stream Media false information as well as mass brainwashing due to a Flu Virus.

  2. This fact is further evidence of government overreaction to this so-called equivalent of the Spanish Flu. But then, we now know that all the hype was introduced so as to give politicians cover for their power grabs nationwide. #LiberateVermont!

  3. Be interesting to note the population size in the counties with the virus as compared with the ones with no virus. My guess is that the virus free counties are in the wilds of Montana, Wyoming compared to those in say New York or New Jersey.

  4. Counties with no deaths should be working hard to keep it that way. I’m not convinced as to how all this counting is instructive. Sure, it’s data. Some data is relevant. Other is not, but it is still data and could become relevant once a scope is created for it.
    The phrase, “most counties”, seems a stretch, a minimizing of the seriousness of covid-19. To people who have not lost a friend, sibling, parent or mate, it might be easy to look at the figures and think that 52% is most of the counties. “Most”, can be a subjective term. In this case it represents a majority. But, it doesn’t signify a sweeping one. 52% is only 2% of being equal to and 3% from being a minority.
    Be cautious about how you view the data. With such a narrow margin “most” could have a whole different meaning in a short amount of time.

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