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Des Moines, IA

This is the County in the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metro Area Where COVID-19 is Growing the Fastest

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24/7 Wall St.
24/7 Wall St.
 2021-05-17 After adding over 36,000 new cases on May 13, the U.S. now has more than 32.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 570,000 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 13.6 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans -- essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 15.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While COVID-19 has spread to nearly every part 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 routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA, metro area consists of Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, and three other counties. In the past week, there were an average of 12.8 new coronavirus cases every day per 100,000 Des Moines residents, in line with the national figure. The metro area’s average daily case growth in the most recent week is essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there was an average of 13.5 daily new cases per 100,000 Des Moines residents.

The spread of coronavirus depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Des Moines-West Des Moines metro area, COVID-19 is growing the fastest in Madison County. There were an average of 25.1 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in Madison County during the past week, the most of the six counties in Des Moines with available data.

Case growth in the Des Moines metro area varies at the county level. In Guthrie County, for example, there were an average of 9.9 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in the past week -- the least of any county in Des Moines and more than the case growth rate in Madison County.

While Madison County is driving the growth of COVID-19 in the Des Moines area, it does not have the highest incidence of cases overall. As of May 13, there were a total of 10,111.2 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents in Madison County, the sixth most of the six counties in the metro area. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 9,997.3 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

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 Madison County, unemployment peaked at 12.2% in April 2020. As of March 2021, the county's unemployment rate was 5.0%.

To determine the county in every metropolitan area where COVID-19 is growing the fastest, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked counties according to the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days ending May 13. To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data up 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 not seasonally adjusted.

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

Rank in MSA County Population New daily cases per 100,000, week ending May 13 New daily cases per 100,000, week ending May 6 Cumulative cases per 100,000 Cumulative deaths per 100,000
1 Madison County 16,012 25.1 20.3 10,111.2 118.7
2 Jasper County 36,971 16.0 9.5 11,325.1 194.7
3 Warren County 50,076 15.1 17.9 11,506.5 175.7
4 Polk County 479,612 12.2 13.3 11,993.0 129.9
5 Dallas County 87,099 11.9 12.4 12,818.7 112.5
6 Guthrie County 10,669 9.9 14.5 11,350.6 281.2

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