New York Times map adapted by Ky. Health News; click here for interactive version with county rates.
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
Kentucky has had a higher rate of coronavirus cases, but probably a lower Covid-19 death rate, than the national averages, according to The New York Times‘ analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.In cases per person, Kentucky is 13th among the states, at 16,571 cases per 100,000 residents. That’s 17.4% higher than the national rate of 13,684.
In deaths per person, Kentucky ranks 26th, at 216 per 100,000 residents, just below the national average of 222 per 100,000. However, death rates may not be fully comparable among the states, because of state-by-state differences in how deaths are attributed to Covid-19.
The state case figures paint with a broad brush; among regions and counties, there are significant differences. Many Kentucky counties have case rates well above the national average, and a few are national leaders.
The case rate in Clay County, in southeastern Kentucky, ranks third among the nation’s 3,143 counties and county equivalents. As of Sunday, it had had 5,099 cases, or 25,622 per 100,000. The highest rate is in the Bethel Census Area of Alaska, at 31,174; Karnes County, Texas, is second at 25,877.
Clay County’s rate means that about one of every four people in the county have been found to have the coronavirus. The Times’s interactive map shows likewise for one of every four people in Lyon County, but for unexplained reasons that county does not appear on the newspaper’s list of top 100 counties. Its high rate is attributable to several prisons.
Other Kentucky counties in the top 100 are Whitley, eighth at 24,380 cases per 100,000 residents; Perry, 12th at 23,589; Knox, 20th (22,960); Green, 27th (22,393); Bell, 30th (22,165); Taylor, 38th (21,836); Clinton, 46th (21,570); McCreary, 52nd (21,514); Russell, 53rd (21,486); Morgan, 55th (21,407); Laurel, 72nd (20,905); and Harlan, 90th (20,557). All but Taylor County are in Appalachia, as defined by Congress; Taylor borders the region.
Several Tennessee counties are in the top 100, reflecting the Volunteer State’s No. 2 ranking, trailing only North Dakota’s. Tennessee’s rate is 18,208 cases per 100,000 residents. The rates and ranks of other bordering states are: Indiana, 15,201, 20th; West Virginia, 23rd, 14,836; Missouri, 29th, 14,088; Illinois, 33rd, 13,306; Ohio, 35th, 12,998; and Virginia, 43rd, 10,717.
The bordering states’ death rates are: Indiana, 16th, 245 per 100,000 residents; West Virginia, 20th at 238; Tennessee, 21st at 235; Illinois, 24th at 224; Missouri, 30th at 206; Ohio, 31st at 205; Virginia, 37th at 160.
Harlan is the only Kentucky county in the top 100. It has had 127 Covid-19 deaths, giving it a death rate of 488 per 100,000 residents, making it 52nd in the nation.