Covid Roars Back in U.S. Cities After Months as a Rural Problem

Starting in late August, Covid-19 was essentially a rural problem. Now, after months of relative respite, it’s back in America’s cities, where dense populations spread the virus at alarming speeds.

U.S. metropolitan areas are averaging a record 27.8 daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Although rural areas are still worse on a per-capita basis, it’s clear that cities have been swept up in the pandemic again.

The surge has expanded from highly rural states in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain West to areas with bigger populations and more urban living. That has meant rising cases in and around Denver, Detroit and Chicago. Further to the east, the virus is mounting a comeback around Newark, New Jersey, and Boston.

In Cook County, home of Chicago, the seven-day average of new cases hit a record 4,074 last week and has roughly doubled since the end of October, according to USAFacts, a nonprofit aggregator of government data that’s used by the CDC.

Nationally, the U.S. added 142,907 Covid-19 cases Monday, bringing the seven-day average to a record 117,211, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

There were 667 deaths reported Monday, bringing the total to more than 238,000.

According to Covid Tracking Project data:

  • Current hospitalizations with Covid-19 jumped to 59,275, close to the April 15 record of 59,940, which is likely to be broken any day if the current trend holds.
  • South Dakota, the worst state by hospitalizations, now has an extrapolated rate of 640 Covid patients in hospitals per million residents. That’s the worst that any state has been since New York and New Jersey in April. At its peak, New York state hit 968.
  • The following states hit single-day records in cases Monday: Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and Tennessee.

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