Ethics & Public Policy Center

There Are Patterns in the COVID-19 Crisis. Here’s What They Tell Us.

Published in The Washington Post on April 14, 2020


President Trump and many governors are openly talking about when and how to reopen the nation’s economy. They should be looking closely at the regional data regarding coronavirus infection rates as they make these decisions. Different parts of the country show much different rates of infection, suggesting that some places might be able to reopen earlier than others.

The data shows that the United States has a national problem with severe regional crises. As of Monday, the country had about 579,000 recorded cases of covid-19. Data from the New York Times shows that nearly half —almost 256,000 cases — were from the New York metropolitan area. Broaden that out to other counties in the New York area, and you add 19,000 more cases. An area that contains less than 7 percent of the national population had nearly 50 percent of the nation’s cases.

A mere four other regions of the country combined for roughly 68,000 more cases. The Boston and Detroit combined statistical areas had almost 47,000 cases between them, while the regions in eastern and southern Louisiana, including the New Orleans and Baton Rouge metro areas, had 17,000. Add the Hartford, Conn., metro area and the western part of Massachusetts to these areas and New York, and you’ve accounted for 60 percent of the nation’s cases.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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