As of Thursday, over a quarter-million people in the United States had died of covid-19 as the number of confirmed cases continues to skyrocket. Hospitals are short on nurses, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended against traveling for the holidays.

Each of these 250,000 people is a life lost to a single virus in less than nine months. One way to understand the impact of this loss is to compare it with the number of people who live in your town, city or county. This amount of death would draw a hole in America’s heartland.

250,000 people is more than the population of any of these counties

Approximately 250,000 people live inside the yellow

stroke. If all of the reported covid deaths in the U.S. were

contained in this area, its whole population would have died.

Approximately 250,000 people live inside the yellow

stroke. If all of the reported covid deaths in the U.S. were

contained in this area, its whole population would have died.

Approximately 250,000 people live inside the yellow stroke.

If all of the reported covid deaths in the U.S. were contained in

this area, its whole population would have died.

Approximately 250,000 people live inside the yellow stroke.

If all of the reported covid deaths in the U.S. were contained in

this area, its whole population would have died.

The majority of counties in the United States have less than 250,000 inhabitants. In these places, the number of people who have died of covid-19 in the United States is the same or many times greater than the county’s population.

How many times you’d need to multiply

the county population to get 250,000

1x

5x

10x

15x

20x

25x+

How many times you’d need to multiply

the county population to get 250,000

1x

5x

10x

15x

20x

25x or more

How many times you’d need to multiply the county population to get 250,000

1x

5x

10x

15x

20x

25x or more

As deaths continue to rise across the country, daily confirmed cases of covid-19 are skyrocketing. Over 11 million confirmed cases have been reported, which is more than the combined population of multiple states.

The entire population of these 278 counties

is roughly equivalent to the number of people

infected with the virus in the United States

ND

MT

ID

SD

WY

NV

NE

CO

UT

The entire population of these 278 counties is

roughly equivalent to the number of people infected

with the virus in the United States

ND

MT

ID

SD

WY

NV

NE

Salt Lake City

CO

Denver

UT

The entire population of these 278 counties is roughly equivalent

to the number of people infected with the virus in the United States

Great Falls

Missoula

ND

MT

Bismarck

Bozeman

ID

SD

Idaho Falls

Rapid City

WY

Casper

NV

Cheyenne

NE

Salt Lake City

Denver

CO

UT

The recent spike in daily confirmed cases is the largest wave so far during the pandemic in the United States, and it shows no sign of slowing. It is estimated that more than 3 million people in the nation have active coronavirus infections and are potentially contagious.

When each county reached its peak number of cases

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

Note: Data as of Nov. 17

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

Note: Data as of Nov. 17

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

Note: Data as of Nov. 17

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

Note: Data as of Nov. 17

This week, two companies announced coronavirus vaccines that appear to be more than 90 percent effective in clinical trials. However, it will still be many months before the vaccine is distributed to people who are not considered at “high risk” based on their job, age and underlying health conditions.

About this story

Covid-19 data from Washington Post reporting (data reported by states and counties). Population estimates are from the 2019 American Community Survey. Dan Keating and Harry Stevens contributed to this report.