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These Are The Counties In The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area Where COVID-19 Is Growing The Fastest


After adding over 3,841,000 new cases last week, there are now more than 56.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. There have been more than 820,000 COVID-19-related deaths – the highest death toll of any country.

The number of new cases continues to increase faster. For the past week, there have been an average of 113.5 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans daily – an increase from the previous week when there were an average of 57.0 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people daily.

While COVID-19 has spread to almost all parts of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people are routinely in close contact with one another, such as in colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between neighborhoods and large populations can be particularly at risk.

In the 50 largest metropolitan areas, coronavirus incidence rose at an average rate of 139.8 new cases per day per 100,000 population over the past week – 31.2% more than case growth in all counties outside the metropolitan areas.

The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI metropolitan area consists of Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and 11 other counties. For the past week, there have been an average of 156.3 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Chicago residents daily, more than the national number. The average daily growth in cases in the metropolitan area for the past week is an increase from the previous week when there was an average of 94.8 daily new cases per 100,000 Chicago residents.

The spread of the coronavirus depends on various factors and can even vary between neighboring counties. Within the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metropolitan area, COVID-19 is growing fastest in Kendall County. For the past week, Kendall County’s average of 175.2 new cases per day per 100,000 population, most of the 14 counties in Chicago with data available.

Case growth in the greater Chicago area varies widely at the county level. In Newton County, for example, there were an average of 50.3 new cases per day per 100,000 population for the past week – the lowest of any counties in Chicago and far more than the case growth rate in Kendall County.

While Kendall County is driving the growth of COVID-19 in the Chicago area, it doesn’t have the highest incidence of cases overall. On January 1st, Kendall County, the fifth-most of the 14 counties in the metropolitan area, had a total of 18,302.5 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. For comparison, the US has so far reported 17,506.5 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have resulted in widespread job losses and record unemployment. In Kendall County, the unemployment rate peaked at 16.4% in April 2020. In June 2021, the county’s unemployment rate was 7.0%.

To determine the county in each metropolitan area where COVID-19 is growing fastest, Wall St. has compiled and reviewed data from state and local health officials around the clock. We ranked the counties based on the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days ending January 6. To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated the data at the county level using boundary definitions from the US Census Bureau. The population data used to adjust the case and death numbers are from the US Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are not seasonally adjusted.

These are all of the counties in Illinois where COVID-19 is slowing down (and where it’s still getting worse).

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This story was originally published by 24/7 Wall St., a news organization that produces real-time business commentary and data-driven reporting for state and local markets across the country.

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