New York remains the epicentre for coronavirus cases in the United States with more than 1,500 deaths and over 38,000 confirmed cases, but experts warn many other cities and states are quickly becoming hot spots for the outbreak.
While New York City sees a spike in hospitalisations, major cities in the states of Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan and Florida have seen a surge in the number of cases. That’s in addition to cities and states on the West Coast that were first affected by the outbreak.
Officials warn it is likely that New York will not be the only coronavirus epicentre in the US, with US officials predicting that the pandemic could kill more than 100,000 in the US
Here’s a look at some of the US hot spots outside of New York:
The home of the US automotive industry and one of the largest cities in Michigan, Detroit faced economic downturn for years as auto production moved overseas.
The metropolitan area has a population of over four million and a poverty rate of 35 percent, roughly three times the national average. Detroit also has a large homeless population, which officials say is particularly at risk.
Michigan had nearly 6,500 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 31, with at least 1,800 of those and 50 deaths being reported in Detroit.
While Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has taken proactive steps, the situation is still dire.
“At this time, the trajectory of Detroit is unfortunately even more steep than that of New York,” Dr Teena Chopra, the medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at the Detroit Medical Center, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
The largest city in Illinois faces many of the same issues as New York City, and Chicago’s coronavirus statistics are starting to paint a dire picture.
Cases have shot up in Illinois, with 73 deaths and over 5,000 cases as of March 31. At least 2,000 of those cases were confirmed in Chicago, one of the largest cities in the US with a metropolitan population of over 9,500,000.
Officials, including those at the US National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers, are working to set up emergency hospitals. McCormick Place, the largest convention centre in the US, has already been converted.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said at a coronavirus briefing that most of the models he’s seen show “that we’ll be peaking sometime in April … We’re not yet close to that”.
Louisiana has developed coronavirus cases faster per capita than other states, according to officials there, and no city in the state has been hit harder than New Orleans.
President Donald Trump granted Louisiana a federal disaster declaration on March 24. Louisiana had over 5,000 cases reported with 39 deaths on March 31.
There were 1,480 cases in New Orleans as of the latest update on March 30. Officials were quoted as saying 86 people in the city died of COVID-19, the disease that the coronavirus causes.
New Orleans faces many of the same issues as Detroit. Its poverty rate is about 25 percent, according to Welfare Info, a website that helps people find benefits.
The Ernest M Morial Convention Center in New Orleans has been converted to an emergency hospital, with 1,000 beds and more capacity if needed.
The city, along with Detroit, was highlighted as a cause for concern by Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has become a symbol of stability in the US.
“It’s a smaller city obviously, so they can’t be totally comparable. But the dynamics of the outbreak in New Orleans are worrisome”, Fauci said on March 30.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a stay-at-home order for the southern part of his state as the number of coronavirus cases grows.
The order affects the four counties – Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Monroe – that have more than half of the state’s 5,000 cases, according to local media.
Travellers entering the state from Louisana or New York City must quarantine for 14 days.
The governor has held off on issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order, arguing that the virus has disproportionately affected the southeast part of the state.
While these cities are drawing concern, every population centre is at risk, due to the nature of the virus, officials say.
Authorities continue to encourage social distancing and keeping travel outside the home to a minimum.