New York has emerged as the nation’s coronavirus hot spot, with more diagnosed cases per million than any other state. It has 294 cases per million residents, about seven times the national level, according to an analysis of data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

As Governor Cuomo points out, however, that statistic is at least partly determined by variations in testing, with New York taking swabs from a relatively large share of residents.


This is an installment in a special series of #NYCoronavirus blog posts by Empire Center analysts, focused on New York’s state and local policy response to the Coronavirus pandemic.


In terms of the coronavirus-related death count – which is likely to be less distorted by testing rates – both Washington state and Louisiana have been harder hit in proportion to their population.

As shown in the chart below, Washington’s toll, at almost 9.7 deaths per million residents, is five times higher than New York’s at 1.9.

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The numbers are a reminder of how much worse the pandemic could get, and why minimizing its spread is so important.

The same is true at a global level, as shown in the additional charts.

Italy is far and away the hardest hit, with 679 diagnosed cases and 56 deaths per million. 

Among major countries with at least 10 deaths, Iran, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, China, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Belgium, Spain and Sweden all have reported higher casualty rates than the U.S.

Among countries with at least 1,000 reported cases, the U.S. ranks 15th in terms of cases per million – but that is probably artificially low because of its struggles with testing.

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About the Author

Bill Hammond

As the Empire Center’s senior fellow for health policy, Bill Hammond tracks fast-moving developments in New York’s massive health care industry, with a focus on how decisions made in Albany and Washington affect the well-being of patients, providers, taxpayers and the state’s economy.

Read more by Bill Hammond

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