The Worst Coronavirus Outbreaks You Haven't Heard About
It's not just the big cities. There are COVID-19 hotspots in smaller towns across the country.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the country, much of the attention has been focused on the big city hotspots: New York City, Detroit, Chicago. But while major cities appear to have flattened the curve, coronavirus rates are still rising all over the nation. Many of these outbreaks are occurring in towns and small cities that have a small number of cases compared to the country at large, but a staggeringly high number of cases compared to their populations. Using data compiled by The New York Times, here are some of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in seven states. And for more hotspots, These Are the States That the CDC Is Most Worried About.
Accomack County, Virginia
According to The New York Times, there are 953 coronavirus cases in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. And while that number might seem small compared to the cases in other counties across the state, it is proportionally very large: With 2,911 cases per 100,000, Accomack has the second-highest number of cases per capita in Virginia.
A May 5 article in WAVY called the Eastern Shore a "coronavirus hotspot." "I can speak for a big part of the population; we are so protected from everything," Matt Hart, mayor of the town of Onley, told the outlet. "I thought it was just going to blow over and we wouldn't have been affected by COVID as much as we have." And for more states where the numbers are rising, here are 6 States Where Coronavirus Numbers Are Blowing Up.
Lowndes County, Alabama
Though The New York Times counts just 261 coronavirus cases in Lowndes County, that translates to a per-capita rate of 2,550 per 100,000, giving it the highest rate of COVID-19 cases in Alabama.
The county, which also has the highest rate of unemployment in the state, has Alabama's second-highest rate of coronavirus deaths. "I have had several good friends from Lowndes County die," Lowndes County Sheriff Christopher West told WSFA. "One of them died this past weekend."
Moore County, Texas
The highest per-capita rate of coronavirus cases in Texas is currently in Moore County, according to The New York Times: The county's 840 cases, as of June 4, translate to a rate of 3,853 per 100,000. For comparison, the 13,268 cases in Harris County, the most overall in the state, represent a rate of 288 cases per 100,000.
In April, an ABC affiliate noted that "the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is rising in Moore County faster than any other county in the Texas Panhandle." At the time, Moore County judge Rowdy Rhoades told ABC, "Our numbers look terrible." And if you want to keep yourself safe, Doing This One Thing at Home Greatly Reduces Your Coronavirus Risk.
Imperial County, California
With 2,459 cases as of June 4, California's Imperial County has a per-capita coronavirus rate of 1,364 per 100,000, as The New York Times reports. That is the highest in the state, well above Los Angeles County's 577 per 100,000.
And while numbers have been rising dramatically, Imperial only got its first testing site on June 3, according to KYMA. In May, The Desert Sun reported that Imperial had the highest per-capita rate of coronavirus hospitalizations in California. And for information on how COVID-19 will affect us down the line, Here's How Winter Could Make the Coronavirus Pandemic Even Worse.
Butler County, Kentucky
Kentucky's highest number of per-capita coronavirus cases is in Butler County, The New York Times reports. There are 235 cases, which is a per-capita rate of 1,844 per 100,000. Recently, however, the numbers have been falling, which is a promising sign for this community.
In April, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on one source of the outbreak in Butler County, a nursing home that saw a spike in COVID-19 cases. "This is a small-town, close-knit community where there are several nurses and CNA's that we have really grown to know as they have cared for my father and mother, who passed four years ago, and my mother-in-law," Shawn Dockery, son of one of the nursing home residents, told the newspaper. "I feel for all the residents, staff, and all the families that are dealing with this horrible unseen monster."
Yakima County, Washington
According to The New York Times, Washington's Yakima County now has 4,057 coronavirus cases, which represents a per-capita rate of 1,627 per 100,000, the state's highest. For comparison, King County—home to Seattle, once a significant hotspot—has a per-capita coronavirus rate of 383 per 100,000.
On May 2, Yakima County had the highest rate of COVID-19 cases on the West Coast, though numbers were going down in Washington. "We just haven't been as much down as the rest of the state because our workforce is going to work," Lilian Bravo of the Yakima Health District told The Seattle Times at the time. "Physically going to work every day is going to put you at a higher risk than others."
Neshoba County, Mississippi
With The New York Times counting 722 coronavirus cases in Neshoba County as of June 4, the area has Mississippi's highest per-capita rate, with 2,458 cases per 100,000. That's not much higher than Holmes County, which has a per-capita rate of 2,440 per 100,000, but the cases there have been declining.
Neshoba was identified as a coronavirus hotspot in early May, as The Neshoba Democrat reported. At the time, Mississippi Director of Health Thomas E. Dobbs III said that Neshoba was one of four counties in the state where the rising number of COVID-19 cases was disproportionately large given the relative population. And for more on how COVID-19 spreads, This Is When Coronavirus Is Most Contagious.