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COVID-19: How Cases in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

24/7 Wall St. logo 24/7 Wall St. 4 days ago Evan Comen

a messy bed in a room © Provided by 24/7 Wall St. The U.S. reported over 289,000 new cases of coronavirus on July 20, bringing the total count to more than 33.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 603,000 COVID-19-related deaths -- the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a steady rate. In the past week, there were an average of 7.5 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans -- essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 4.5 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH metro area consists of Middlesex County, Suffolk County, Essex County, and four other counties. As of July 20, there were 9,657.4 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Boston residents, 7.6% lower than the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 10,449.4 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The incidence of coronavirus cases depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro area, Essex County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of July 20, there were 12,527.2 cases per 100,000 residents in Essex County, the most of any county in Boston-Cambridge-Newton, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Strafford County, there were 7,834.3 cases per 100,000 residents -- the least of any county in Boston-Cambridge-Newton.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro area, unemployment peaked at 16.9% in June 2020. As of May 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 5.9%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Massachusetts where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it's still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of July 20 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of July 20 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of July 20 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of July 20 per 100,000 residents
14460 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 4,832,346 466,679 9,657.4 11,663 241.4
49340 Worcester, MA-CT 941,338 88,663 9,418.8 2,446 259.8
44140 Springfield, MA 699,480 64,391 9,205.6 1,952 279.1
12700 Barnstable Town, MA 213,496 14,044 6,578.1 471 220.6
38340 Pittsfield, MA 126,425 6,590 5,212.6 288 227.8

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