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2020, No. 28
Posted 2020-05-07

COVID-19 Cases and Deaths: Comparing the Eighth Federal Reserve District and the U.S.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is part of the Eighth District of the Federal Reserve System.1 It includes 339 counties and has a total population of 14.78 million people. 

Tracking the past paths of COVID-19 cases and deaths could suggest a lower bound on what to expect for states in the Eighth District as they ease stay-at-home restrictions. Figures 1 and 2 track the path of COVID-19 cases in the Eighth District over roughly the past six weeks. 

As of May 4, 2020, the Eighth District had a total of 1,612 cases per million people.2 This is substantially lower than the United States as a whole, which had a total of 3,510 cases per million people. 

The daily cases fluctuate considerably, so Figure 2 provides both the actual data (darker lines) and the smoothed version that best fits the data (lighter lines). Again, the Eighth District is faring better than the United States as a whole: A daily rate of 35 per million people vs. 66 per million people. 

The White House has established a criterion for reopening regions: there must be a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period. Currently, the Eighth District does not meet that criterion.3 The average daily growth rate of cases in the District over the past 14 days is 3.56 percent. In fact, none of the 339 counties in the Eighth District displays a downward trajectory of cases: All counties have had a positive growth rate over the past 14 days.

Figures 3 and 4 track the cumulative and daily rates of deaths from COVID-19 in the Eighth District. The District had a death rate of 70 per million people as of May 4, 2020. In contrast, the death rate for the United States was almost triple: 204 per million people! 

That said, the daily rate of deaths from COVID-19 in the Eighth District does not seem to be slowing down.


1 The Eighth Federal Reserve District is headquartered in St. Louis and includes branch offices in Little Rock, Louisville, and Memphis; the District includes the state of Arkansas and portions of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. This GeoFRED map shows the resident population for the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. 

2 Cases per million are calculated as the ratio of total number of cases to the population in millions. For instance, in the Eighth District on May 4, 2020, it is 23,829 divided by 14.78.


© 2020, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Federal Reserve System.