Cases of COVID-19 are dropping across the U.S., with original hotspots in New York and New Jersey slowly dropping daily new case rates to early-March levels. However, as the national case rate slowly goes down with large urban areas, case rates in rural cities and towns are increasing.
According to The New York Times, New York City now has the fourth-most COVID-19 cases per capita in the country at nearly 24 per 1,000 people. That trails three other cities in the country, each having less than 170,000 people. Marion, Ohio, with a population of roughly 65,000, has a per capita case rate above 40, while the New Mexico city of Gallup, with a population of 72,000, has a rate above 30. Sioux City, Iowa, with a population of around 170,000, also ranks above New York City at over 26 cases per 1,000 residents.
The data seems to point to rural cities and towns having the greatest potential for new outbreaks of coronavirus, even as the national daily case count drops. This problem may only be exacerbated by states rushing to reopen businesses and institutions during a time when case counts and death rates are just starting to pick up.
The article from The New York Times goes on to show similar rural areas leading the nation in the daily growth rate of COVID-19 deaths, and points to cities and towns across the Midwest and Southern U.S. as potential new hotspots for the virus.