New York City has about a third of the nation’s confirmed coronavirus cases, making it the new epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.
Nearly 1 in 1,000 people in the New York metropolitan area have contracted the virus, five times the rate of the rest of the country, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said on Monday.
The New York metro area is experiencing a virus “attack rate” of nearly one in a thousand, or five times that of other areas Dr. Birx said. In epidemiology, the attack rate is the percentage of a population that has a disease.
New York’s population density may help explain why the “attack rate” is so high.
New York is far more crowded than any other major city in the United States. It has 28,000 residents per square mile, while San Francisco, the next most jammed city, has 17,000, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
All of those people, in such a small space, appear to have helped the virus spread rapidly through packed subway trains, busy playgrounds and hivelike apartment buildings, forming ever-widening circles of infections. The city now has more coronavirus cases per capita than even Italy.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York will issue an order requiring hospitals to increase capacity by at least 50 percent, he said on Monday. New York State saw a one-day increase of nearly 5,000 cases, putting the total at 21,689 as of Monday night.