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Monitoring the Coronavirus Outbreak in Metro Areas Across the U.S.

For the nation as a whole, cases and deaths appear to have peaked or are starting to flatten. But there is a lot of regional variation.

To help provide a detailed picture of the past, present and future of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, here are four ways of thinking about it in hundreds of metro areas across the country, using data compiled by The New York Times. This page will be updated regularly.

1. The Big Picture: New Cases and Deaths

The simplest way to track the progress of an outbreak is by seeing how many new cases and deaths are reported in a given area each day.

New cases per day

United States

0
100,000
200,000
300,000 cases
Mar. 2020
Apr.
May
Jun.
Jul.
Aug.
Sept.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Jan. 2021
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
New cases
7-day average
These are days with a reporting anomaly. Read more here.

New deaths per day

United States

0
2,000
4,000 deaths
Mar. 2020
Apr.
May
Jun.
Jul.
Aug.
Sept.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Jan. 2021
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
Includes many deaths from unspecified days
New deaths
7-day average
These are days with a reporting anomaly. Read more here.

New cases per day

New York City area

0
10,000
20,000 cases
Mar. 2020
Apr.
May
Jun.
Jul.
Aug.
Sept.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Jan. 2021
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
Probable data released
New cases
7-day average
These are days with a reporting anomaly. Read more here.

New deaths per day

New York City area

0
500
1,000 deaths
Mar. 2020
Apr.
May
Jun.
Jul.
Aug.
Sept.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Jan. 2021
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
Many deaths from unspecified days
New deaths
7-day average
These are days with a reporting anomaly. Read more here.
Metro and micropolitan areas are bigger than just the city limits of a given place — they often include the surrounding suburbs and exurbs.

2. Where the Outbreak Is Worst Now

The metro areas with the greatest number of new cases, relative to their population, in the last two weeks:

Average daily cases, last two weeks

Metro or micro area Population Recent cases Daily Per 100k
1 Owosso, Mich. 68,122 837 87.8
2 Jackson, Mich. 158,510 1,941 87.5
3 Detroit 4.3 mil. 49,730 82.2
4 Flint, Mich. 405,813 4,463 78.6
5 Monroe, Mich. 150,500 1,580 75.0
6 Mount Pleasant, Mich. 69,872 698 71.4
7 Bay City, Mich. 103,126 984 68.2
8 Lansing, Mich. 482,269 4,543 67.3
9 Peoria, Ill. 366,221 3,343 65.2
10 Adrian, Mich. 98,451 818 59.3
11 Grand Rapids, Mich. 1.1 mil. 8,729 58.0
12 Ionia, Mich. 64,697 519 57.3
13 Midland, Mich. 83,156 660 56.7
14 Holland, Mich. 118,081 937 56.7
15 Battle Creek, Mich. 134,159 1,056 56.2
16 Saginaw, Mich. 190,539 1,460 54.7
17 Kalamazoo-Portage, Mich. 340,743 2,520 52.8
18 Sterling, Ill. 55,175 402 52.0
19 East Stroudsburg, Pa. 170,271 1,233 51.7
20 Buffalo 1.1 mil. 7,764 49.2
25 New York City area 20.0 mil. 127,233 45.4
10
20
30
40
50
60
Limited to areas with at least 50,000 people. Recent cases are those announced in the last two weeks, but in some cases may have taken place earlier because of delays in reporting.

Here, we’ve limited the window of cases to those within the last two weeks. Scaling those cases by the population of the area can help give a sense of the prevalence of the illness there and how strained a community’s health care system may be. Of course, case counts are subject to variable rates of testing — cases could fall in places simply because fewer tests are being done — so moderate changes in rankings on these tables may not always be meaningful.

3. Where There May Be Bad News Ahead

Here, the metro areas where new reported cases are rising the fastest, on a population-adjusted basis:

Where new cases are increasing fastest

Metro or micro area A week ago Now Change per 100k
1 Mount Pleasant, Mich. 265 433 240
2 Owosso, Mich. 348 489 207
3 Midland, Mich. 248 412 197
4 Bay City, Mich. 393 591 192
5 Brainerd, Minn. 211 372 170
6 Traverse City, Mich. 350 595 163
7 Adrian, Mich. 330 488 160
8 Mount Airy, N.C. 59 162 143
9 Faribault-Northfield, Minn. 132 225 139
10 Lewiston-Auburn, Me. 239 382 132
11 Great Falls, Mont. 60 166 130
12 San Germán, P.R. 63 209 121
13 Saginaw, Mich. 620 840 115
14 Flint, Mich. 2,009 2,454 110
15 Klamath Falls, Ore. 108 182 108
16 Sayre, Pa. 175 237 103
17 Guayama, P.R. 33 107 101
18 Sterling, Ill. 174 228 97.9
19 Mankato, Minn. 212 311 97.1
20 Peoria, Ill. 1,497 1,846 95.3
573 New York City area 67,976 59,257 -43.6
-200
-100
0
100
200
Limited to areas with at least 50,000 people. Figures are sorted by the difference between the number of cases in the past week compared with the week prior.

4. The Places Hit Hardest

Below, the metro areas that have had the highest cumulative case rates since the start of the outbreak:

Cumulative confirmed cases

Metro or micro area Population cases Per 1,000
1 Eagle Pass, Texas 58,722 10,376 176.7
2 Yuma, Ariz. 213,787 36,922 172.7
3 Gallup, N.M. 71,367 12,155 170.3
4 Bismarck, N.D. 133,179 20,979 157.5
5 Laredo, Texas 276,652 43,244 156.3
6 El Paso 844,124 131,795 156.1
7 Lubbock, Texas 322,257 49,924 154.9
8 Rexburg, Idaho 53,006 8,151 153.8
9 El Centro, Calif. 181,215 27,816 153.5
10 Sioux Falls, S.D. 268,232 40,797 152.1
11 Sioux City, Iowa 169,878 25,530 150.3
12 Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 152,940 22,705 148.5
13 Dalton, Ga. 144,724 21,429 148.1
14 Pine Bluff, Ark. 87,804 12,895 146.9
15 Provo-Orem, Utah 648,252 95,005 146.6
16 Rio Grande City, Texas 64,633 9,371 145.0
17 Show Low, Ariz. 110,924 15,991 144.2
18 Beaver Dam, Wis. 87,839 12,493 142.2
19 Roswell, N.M. 64,615 8,996 139.2
20 Calhoun, Ga. 57,963 8,064 139.1
126 New York City area 20.0 mil. 2,236,031 111.8
1
2
5
10
20
50
Limited to areas with at least 50,000 people.

As the pandemic progresses, the number of cases per capita can provide a good measure of the prevalence of coronavirus in a community, even if the deadliest period of the outbreak has passed, as it may have in places like Seattle, New York and New Orleans.

There are other measurements that would be helpful in understanding the progress of the epidemic in different places, such as the number of new hospitalizations, the number of tests administered or the number of people showing any symptoms of respiratory illness. But confirmed coronavirus cases, however incomplete, are the most useful daily statistics currently available at a local level everywhere in the country.

About the data

The Times has identified the following reporting anomalies or methodology changes in the data:

April 6: The Times began using deaths reported by the New York State Health Department instead of the city's health department.

April 19: New York State released backlogged confirmed deaths from April 17 and April 18.

June 25: New Jersey began reporting probable deaths, including those from earlier in the pandemic, causing a jump in the number of total deaths.

June 30: New York City released deaths from earlier periods but did not specify when they were from.

Aug. 6: Our database changed to record deaths by New York City residents instead of deaths that took place in New York City.

Aug. 20: New York City removed four previously reported deaths after reviewing records.

Dec. 7: The New York City health department began reporting probable cases. It also revised how it assigns cases to zip codes throughout the city.

Jan. 4: New Jersey began reporting probable cases identified through antigen testing.

March 18: New York City had a multi-day disruption in reporting new data.

In data for the United States, The Times is now including cases and deaths that have been identified by public health officials as probable coronavirus patients. Some states and counties only report figures in which a coronavirus infection was confirmed through testing. Because confirmed cases are widely considered to be an undercount of the true toll, some state and local governments have started identifying probable cases and deaths using criteria that were developed by states and the federal government.

Confirmed cases and deaths are counts of individuals whose coronavirus infections were confirmed by a laboratory test. Probable cases and deaths count individuals who did not have a confirmed test but were evaluated using criteria developed by national and local governments. Some governments are reporting only confirmed cases, while others are reporting both confirmed and probable numbers. And there is also another set of governments that are reporting the two types of numbers combined without providing a way to separate the confirmed from the probable. The Times is now using the total of confirmed and probable counts when they are available individually or combined. Otherwise only the confirmed count will be shown.

Governments often revise data or report a large increase in cases on a single day without historical revisions, which can cause an irregular pattern in the daily reported figures. The Times is excluding these anomalies from seven-day averages when possible.

Read more about the methodology and download county-level data for coronavirus cases in the United States from The New York Times on GitHub.