Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
AP Fact Check: Actually, 20% of US Lives in a Virus Hot Spot
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 4 years ago on
June 30, 2020

Share

WASHINGTON — It’s been a frequent Trump administration talking point on the recent spike in COVID-19 infections: Don’t worry, only a small sliver of U.S. counties is at greater risk.

In offering this reassurance, Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar have said that only 3% or 4% of counties in the country are seeing a surge in cases. Focus on the “encouraging signs,” Pence told senators last week.
In offering this reassurance, Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar have said that only 3% or 4% of counties in the country are seeing a surge in cases. Focus on the “encouraging signs,” Pence told senators last week.
But they and other administration officials are skirting a key fact: More than 20% of Americans live in those relatively few counties.
The White House has repeatedly cited the low county tally, and Pence reaffirmed the point in a televised interview Sunday. He argued that states, not the federal government, should take the lead with reopening guidelines because virus outbreaks are happening in about “4% of all the counties in this country.”
Azar asserted Friday only 3% of counties represent “hot spots” that are “very concerning.”
The emphasis on a percentage of counties makes for a misleading portrayal of the virus threat.
The White House provided The Associated Press with the full list of U.S. counties that reported increases in COVID-19 cases as of Friday. It showed 137 of the 3,142 counties in the U.S. that were under a higher alert — indeed, about 4% at the time.
[covid-19-tracker]

More Than 68 Million People in ‘Hot Spot’ Counties

But measured by population, those counties represent a vastly higher share — over 1 in 5 people in the U.S.
Altogether there are 68.3 million people living in those 137 counties, while there is a total U.S. population of 322.9 million. That means 21.1% of U.S. residents actually live in a virus “hot spot.”
In recent weeks, the U.S. has entered a dangerous new phase of the coronavirus with big Sun Belt states showing thousands of new cases a day. Texas and Florida reversed course on parts of their reopening and clamped down on bars last week as the daily number of confirmed infections in the U.S. surged to all-time highs.
Speaking about the coronavirus threat Friday, White House coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx explained that counties large and small are being tracked by the White House task force, and that anyone living in a virus hot spot should take the necessary precautions, including social distancing and wearing a mask.
Citing increases particularly in the under-40 age group, Birx stressed that much more testing is needed because that’s the age group most likely to be infected without showing symptoms and to be “spreading the virus unbeknownst to them.”
The population figures, both county level and national, come from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey five-year estimates for 2018, the latest available.

DON'T MISS

Pro-Palestinian Protesters at Drexel Ignore Call to Disband as Arrests Nationwide Surpass 3,000

DON'T MISS

Stock Market Today: Wall Street Ticks Higher as S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Head for More Records

DON'T MISS

Ramos Homers, Hicks Earns 4th Win as Giants Beat Rockies for First Series Sweep This Year

DON'T MISS

Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s Behind the Weird Flavors Popping Up on Store Shelves

DON'T MISS

Red Lobster Seeks Bankruptcy Protection Days After Closing Dozens of Restaurants

DON'T MISS

Michael Cohen Says He Stole from Trump’s Company as Defense Presses Key Hush Money Trial Witness

DON'T MISS

Ohtani Delivers Walk-off Single in 10th. Dodgers Have Won 20 of Last 26 Games.

DON'T MISS

Fresno Sheriff to Host Q&A on CCWs. Registration Is Open.

DON'T MISS

GOP Makes Noncitizen Voting a Key 2024 Campaign Issue

DON'T MISS

Target to Lower Prices on Thousands of Basic Items as Inflation Sends Customers Scrounging for Deals

UP NEXT

WikiLeaks Founder Assange Wins Appeal Against US Extradition

UP NEXT

Jewish Lobby Presses California Lawmakers to Combat Antisemitism

UP NEXT

Billionaires Urged NYC Mayor to Use Police on Columbia Protesters, Chats Reveal

UP NEXT

Lainey Wilson Triumphs at 2024 Academy of Country Music Awards

UP NEXT

California Professor to Stand Trial for Death of Pro-Israel Protester

UP NEXT

Texas Governor Pardons Ex-Army Sergeant Convicted of Killing BLM Protester

UP NEXT

Justice Department Moves to Reclassify Marijuana as Less Dangerous Drug

UP NEXT

Suicide of 10-Year-Old Indiana Boy Linked to Horrific Bullying at School

UP NEXT

‘Mad Max’ Has Lived in George Miller’s Head for 45 Years. He’s Not Done Dreaming Yet.

UP NEXT

US Military Reports First Drop in Sexual Assaults After Years of Increase

Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s Behind the Weird Flavors Popping Up on Store Shelves

2 hours ago

Red Lobster Seeks Bankruptcy Protection Days After Closing Dozens of Restaurants

2 hours ago

Michael Cohen Says He Stole from Trump’s Company as Defense Presses Key Hush Money Trial Witness

3 hours ago

Ohtani Delivers Walk-off Single in 10th. Dodgers Have Won 20 of Last 26 Games.

3 hours ago

Fresno Sheriff to Host Q&A on CCWs. Registration Is Open.

3 hours ago

GOP Makes Noncitizen Voting a Key 2024 Campaign Issue

3 hours ago

Target to Lower Prices on Thousands of Basic Items as Inflation Sends Customers Scrounging for Deals

3 hours ago

WikiLeaks Founder Assange Wins Appeal Against US Extradition

3 hours ago

Jim Otto, ‘Mr. Raider’ and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Dies at 86

3 hours ago

Airstrike Kills 27 in Gaza Amid Intensifying Israeli Leadership Divisions

3 hours ago

Pro-Palestinian Protesters at Drexel Ignore Call to Disband as Arrests Nationwide Surpass 3,000

PHILADELPHIA — Pro-Palestinian protesters ignored a request by Drexel University’s president to disband their encampment on Monday as ...

2 hours ago

2 hours ago

Pro-Palestinian Protesters at Drexel Ignore Call to Disband as Arrests Nationwide Surpass 3,000

2 hours ago

Stock Market Today: Wall Street Ticks Higher as S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Head for More Records

2 hours ago

Ramos Homers, Hicks Earns 4th Win as Giants Beat Rockies for First Series Sweep This Year

2 hours ago

Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s Behind the Weird Flavors Popping Up on Store Shelves

2 hours ago

Red Lobster Seeks Bankruptcy Protection Days After Closing Dozens of Restaurants

3 hours ago

Michael Cohen Says He Stole from Trump’s Company as Defense Presses Key Hush Money Trial Witness

3 hours ago

Ohtani Delivers Walk-off Single in 10th. Dodgers Have Won 20 of Last 26 Games.

3 hours ago

Fresno Sheriff to Host Q&A on CCWs. Registration Is Open.

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend