As the CPP virus swipes through the United States, much attention has been paid to the situation in large cities. That’s not, however, where the rate of infection has been the highest.
While New York City has the highest number of confirmed cases, over 57,000, when counted per capita, the worst hit is Rockland County, a neighboring suburb of some 325,000 on the west side of the Hudson River.
More than one in 67 Rockland residents has tested positive, a rate over twice as high as in New York City.
Westchester County, a large suburb across the river from Rockland, has about one in 74 residents confirmed infected, a total of more than 13,000 cases as of April 3, according to the state’s Department of Health.
New Orleans, the largest city in Louisiana with a population of nearly 400,000, is the third most affected area in the nation, with more than 1 in 100 testing positive.
Nassau County, a large suburban area on Long Island just east of Queens, is in a similar situation with nearly one in 100 residents confirmed as infected.
In New York City and Westchester, it appears the pace of the epidemic has somewhat plateaued. Not so in Rockland, where the rate of infection still seems to be rapidly accelerating. Nassau, as well as the Suffolk and Orange counties, have experienced a quickening of the spread as well.
More than a million people have been confirmed as infected and nearly 64,000 have died. In the United States, over 300,000 tested positive and over 8,000 died. New York state has more than 3,500 dead. Louisiana over 400.
A prognosis published by researchers under the University of Washington in Seattle expects the peak of the epidemic in 12 days, when the death rate could reach between about 1,200 and 4,100 in a single day.
By that model, roughly between 40,000 and 180,000 would die before July 1.
The White House coronavirus task force has issued guidelines for Americans to slow the spread of the disease, dubbed COVID-19. They recommend keeping distance of at least 6 feet from others when outside of home, washing hands frequently, avoid touching one’s face and eyes, and covering one’s face with a scarf or a mask in settings where maintaining distance is difficult. Depending on how disciplined Americans will be with the guidelines, fatalities may fall below the above projections, said Deborah Birx, the task force’s response coordinator, at its March 3 press briefing.
“If another major metropolitan area ends up having epidemic like the New York metro area, that could dramatically change not the model, but the reality of the impact of this virus on Americans.”
President Donald Trump said at the briefing he’d like to achieve a death toll far below the projected numbers.
“I want none, but it’s too late for that,” he said. “But I want very few people relative to what the models are saying.”
The epidemic has put health care workers and resources under great strain in the most heavily affected areas.
Meanwhile, states’ mitigation measures, such as orders to close all non-essential businesses, have choked the economy. Payrolls have dropped by more than 700,000 between the second week of February and March, even before many of the stricter measures were taken. Unemployment claims increased to a record high of more than 6.6 million for the week ending March 28.