The disease caused by the novel coronavirus has killed at least people in the United States. The country’s earliest covid-19 fatality was thought to be a 58-year-old man near Seattle, whose death was announced Feb. 29.
But on April 22, officials in California announced that tissue from two people who had died in early and mid-February in Santa Clara County had tested positive, signaling that the virus may have spread in the country weeks earlier than was previously thought.
New deaths reported per day
A total of have been reported since Feb. 29.
Note: The spike in mid-April is due to New York City authorities adding probable cases to the city’s death tally.
As the death toll rose through March and April and U.S. testing lagged, criteria for reporting deaths changed in some states and cities. Even now, jurisdictions continue to fine-tune their counting and reporting procedures, so numbers in this piece may fluctuate as local authorities classify and reclassify cases.
New York City, for instance, in mid-April added to its total more than 3,700 deaths of people who were presumed to have covid-19 but were never tested.
By April 13, the virus had killed in every state.
Deaths reported per 100,000 residents by county
Use two fingers to pan around the map. Pinch to zoom. Double-tap to explore county details.Click on a state to explore county details
Because testing was slow to begin in the United States, health officials agree that the number of reported cases is much lower than the actual number of people who have the disease, and even the count of deaths is probably low because of differences in reporting by overwhelmed local jurisdictions.
Hot spots have erupted in a few places with large outbreaks, none more dire than in New York, where at least cases have been reported and at least have died since March 14, when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) announced the death of an 82-year-old woman.
Although it is a populous state, New York also leads the country in deaths per 100,000 residents. Neighboring states are not far behind.
Hard-hit Louisiana suffered an early breakout in New Orleans, which may have been fueled by the month-long Carnival celebration that drew more than a million people to the city in February and culminated in a raucous — and crowded — Mardi Gras.
Deaths reported per 100,000 residents
But those are far from the only areas struggling to contain the disease and treat its victims.
Washington, where the U.S. outbreak was first announced in early February, has had a high number of deaths among older people, particularly in the Seattle area. The disease took root early in several King County nursing homes and facilities that care for older, sicker people.
Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit, has a high rate of infections per capita thanks in part, health officials told the Detroit Free Press, to economic disparities. People in areas of concentrated poverty tend to have higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The virus is not just an urban issue. Sparsely populated rural areas don’t have the huge raw numbers of cases or deaths that cities are reporting, but some rank highly in deaths and cases per capita. People in very rural areas are more likely to die of flu than urbanites and may be more vulnerable to covid-19 as well, according to a Post analysis of CDC data.
Ten counties with highest rate of deaths
A handful of counties in southwestern Georgia have some of the highest rates of infection and deaths in the country. The governor sent Georgia National Guard troops to help with medical care in Dougherty County, which has fewer than 100,000 people but more than 1,000 cases and dozens of deaths.
However, not all numbers are terrible. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) was the first to issue a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19 in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease that had already infiltrated the San Francisco Bay area and greater Los Angeles. Most governors eventually issued similar orders, and preliminary data show that the early social-distancing orders are working.
Tests reported per 100,000 residents
On April 16, as the virus appeared to be waning in some places and just arriving in others, the Trump administration released a framework for “reopening” the country.
According to the president’s guidelines, accurate and thorough test results are necessary so officials can make informed decisions about easing stay-at-home restrictions.
Because there is no coordinated national testing system, and testing criteria and frequency vary widely among states and even among localities within states. Widespread implementation of testing has also experienced significant delays. As a result, some states and areas test much higher percentages of their populations than others, according to the Covid Tracking Project.