America’s 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths: Small Cities And Towns Bear A Growing Share

When COVID-19 claimed its first 100,000 lives in the U.S., Hidalgo County, Texas, seemed to have avoided the worst of it. The county, which sits on the border with Mexico, had just 10 deaths when the U.S. crossed that tragic milestone on May 27.

But the U.S. has now doubled its death count to top 200,000 victims, and Hidalgo County has become one of the deadliest hot spots for COVID-19. Despite the lack of dense urban areas there — its largest city, McAllen, has fewer than 150,000 residents — the disease has killed more than 1,500 people across the county.

“We knew we were going to see an increase, but we could not foresee the increase we got,” says Eduardo Olivarez, the chief administrative officer of the county health department.

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