“Why New York? Why are we seeing this level of infection? … It’s very simple: It’s about density,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said at a news conference Monday morning. “The dense environments are its feeding grounds.”
At the early coronavirus cluster in New Rochelle, he said, one or two infected people attended gatherings of hundreds, and the virus “spread like wildfire.”
New York’s less dense counties — some of which have more cows than people, Cuomo said — have very few hospitalizations. Ninety-four percent of patients hospitalized are in New York City and Rockland and Westchester Counties (which includes New Rochelle) and Long Island.
In Europe, the only place where the virus disaster rivals what is now happening in the United States, no country appears to have such a high concentration of cases. In Spain, the infection rate has reached 0.36 percent of the country’s 2018 population. Switzerland’s figure is at 0.3 percent, Belgium’s 0.27 percent and Italy’s 0.26 percent.
In the United States, no state rivals what’s happening in New York, but New Jersey comes close, with 0.7 percent of its population now infected. Several other states show worse outbreaks than those in Europe when analyzed on this basis: Louisiana (0.44 percent), Massachusetts (0.37 percent) and Connecticut (0.34 percent).
These numbers are based on 2018 World Bank population figures for Europe and 2019 Census estimates for the United States.