- The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States recently surpassed 100,000.
- An estimated 41% of those deaths occurred in just two states: New York and New Jersey.
Earlier this week, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the United States reached 100,000. And though the coronavirus is finally starting to subside in a number of large U.S. cities, the number of cases in states like Arkansas and West Virginia is starting to spike. This, coupled with the fact that many states are planning to reopen over the next few days and weeks, has led some to believe that a second wave of the coronavirus may be on its way.
What’s interesting, though perhaps not surprising, is that an estimated 41% of all coronavirus deaths in the United States occurred in New York or New Jersey. The data, which comes from Johns Hopkins University, notes that the two states have reported 29,350 and 11,339 deaths, respectively.
The fact that the outbreak disproportionately impacted New York and New Jersey can primarily be attributed to the population size and density of the New York metropolitan area. Aside from the fact that New York City is easily the largest city in the country, people in New York City tend to live on top of one another. Further, the insanely high rent in the area results in a higher percentage of adults who live with roommates.
As an illustrative point, the population density in New York City is more than double what you’ll find in other large cities like Chicago.
The epicenter of the country’s outbreak is New York City, the most populous city in the U.S. with 8 million residents. It’s also got the country’s highest population density, with 27,000 people per square mile. That, coupled with a subway system that sees 5.5 million commuters daily, make it prime breeding ground for infection.
New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, is home to hundreds of thousands of commuters who worked in the city before the pandemic hit. Plus, it has the highest population density of any state.
The good news is that things in New York City are on an upswing. Whereas New York City accounted for nearly 50% of all U.S. coronavirus deaths in March and April, that figure dropped down to 25% over the last four weeks.
The bad news, though, is that the U.S. isn’t out of the woods just yet. Looking ahead, some health experts warn that returning to a normal way of life too soon could usher in a second, and likely more dangerous, second wave of the virus.
To this point, Dr. Mike Ryan of the World Heath Organization recently said:
When we speak about a second wave classically what we often mean is there will be a first wave of the disease by itself, and then it recurs months later. And that may be a reality for many countries in a number of months’ time. But we need also to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down and we are getting a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave.
As a final point, it’s estimated that the coronavirus hasn’t yet peaked in as many as 24 states.