The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A stunning 1 in 100 New York residents have now tested positive for coronavirus

Concentrations of cases in New York City and the state as a whole appear unmatched across the globe

A person is transported into the emergency room at Elmhurst Medical Center on Friday in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/AFP/Getty Images)

The coronavirus outbreak in New York state, now larger in scale than in any other country in the world, also appears to be the most highly concentrated, state statistics show.

As of Monday, over 1 in 100 state residents, or 1 percent, have now tested positive for the disease — far higher than in even the hardest-hit nations like Spain, where that figure is only a third of a percent.

There are 195,031 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York, per the count state officials released Monday. With a 2019 estimated population of 19.45 million, that equates to an infection rate of just over 1 percent for the state of New York.

“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.”

Sanam Ahmed, a critical care physician, spends the night working to stabilize Mt. Sinai's sickest covid-19 patients. (Video: Mt. Sinai Hospital/The Washington Post, Photo: Mt. Sinai Hospital/The Washington Post)

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.

The state’s figures are led by New York City, whose five boroughs had 104,410 cases as of Sunday spread across a 2018 Census-estimated population of 8.4 million. That’s an infection rate of 1.2 percent.

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.