U.S. coronavirus hotspots are far outpacing Europe's

Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University, Census Bureau, United Nations; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/AxiosAmerica's coronavirus outbreak has surpassed Europe's.

U.S. coronavirus hotspots are far outpacing Europe's
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University, Census Bureau, United Nations; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak has surpassed Europe's.

Why it matters: It wasn't long ago that public health experts were pointing to Europe as a warning sign for the U.S. But the U.S. now has a higher per capita caseload than the EU ever has during its recent surge.


By the numbers: As of Saturday, 15 states had higher per capita caseloads, averaged over seven days, than the European country with the highest caseload — Luxembourg.

  • The U.S. overall saw 52.4 cases per 100,000 people. The EU saw 37.6 per 100,000 on Saturday, and peaked at 46.7 cases per 100,000 on Nov. 8.

The big picture: Europe's steady rise in coronavirus cases over the last couple of months prompted many countries to bring back lockdowns or other strict behavioral restrictions.

  • Meanwhile, in the U.S., some of the hardest-hit states — like Iowa — are just now adopting mask mandates, and airports over the weekend were packed with people traveling for Thanksgiving.

Yes, but: Cases in the hardest-hit states are starting to trend down, a sign that people are modifying their behavior on their own.

What we're watching: There's no sign that the number of U.S. cases nationally is going to stop rising anytime soon, especially in the absence of strong federal or state restrictions.

  • Hospitalizations and deaths lag behind cases by a few weeks. That means that Europe likely has easier days ahead, while America's dark days are just getting started.
  • In the U.S., today's overwhelmed hospitals will continue to keep getting hit with ever-growing caseloads for awhile.