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COVID-19: How Cases in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

24/7 Wall St. logo 24/7 Wall St. 2/19/2021 Evan Comen

a group of people in a room © Provided by 24/7 Wall St. The U.S. reported over 64,000 new cases of coronavirus on Feb. 17, bringing the total count to more than 27,400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 470,000 COVID-19-related deaths -- the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise, albeit at a slowing rate. In the past week, there were an average of 27.8 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans -- a decrease from the week prior, when there were an average of 39 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.

In the 50 largest metro areas, the incidence of COVID-19 grew at an average rate of 29.4 new cases a day per 100,000 residents in the past week -- 7.1% greater than the case growth in all counties outside of metro areas.

The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI metro area consists of Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and 11 other counties. As of Feb. 17, there were 8,854.7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Chicago residents, roughly in line with the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 8,511.6 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 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area, Grundy County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of Feb. 17, there were 9,843.8 cases per 100,000 residents in Grundy County, the most of any county in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Newton County, there were 6,876.9 cases per 100,000 residents -- the least of any county in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin.

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 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area, unemployment peaked at 17.6% in Apr-20. As of November 2020, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 8.6%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 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 2018 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 17 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 17 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of Feb. 17 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of Feb. 17 per 100,000 residents
Kankakee, IL 111,061 12,231 11,012.9 189 170.2
Danville, IL 78,407 8,388 10,698.0 120 153
Rockford, IL 339,780 33,903 9,977.9 510 150.1
Peoria, IL 409,844 37,589 9,171.5 671 163.7
Carbondale-Marion, IL 138,452 12,608 9,106.4 208 150.2
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 9,536,428 844,426 8,854.7 15,132 158.7
Decatur, IL 106,512 9,361 8,788.7 183 171.8
Champaign-Urbana, IL 225,875 18,822 8,332.9 128 56.7
Bloomington, IL 173,219 14,332 8,273.9 178 102.8
Springfield, IL 210,028 16,894 8,043.7 261 124.3

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

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