The United States has reported more than 11,387,700 cases of COVID-19, according to the latest data from The New York Times. And if you look at any map that tracks coronavirus, you’ll quickly see that it’s hard to find a single region of the U.S. that hasn’t reported at least a few infections. Why? Because there really aren’t any. More accurately, there’s one. According to reporting by The New York Times on Nov. 17, Loving County in rural West Texas has not officially reported a single COVID case since the pandemic began. It is the only region in the continental U.S. that can make such a claim. But are the people living there really completely COVID-free? Read on to discover more details about this rural outlier of the pandemic. And for the places that are taking action against COVID, These Are All the States Locking Down Again.
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One reason that Loving County has been able to keep COVID cases to, well, zero, is simply because there aren’t that many people that live there. With a population of 169 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—the smallest on the U.S. mainland—spread across 669 square miles of wide open land, residents of the desert town can’t help but to social distance. And for an insider’s take on the current surge of coronavirus, check out I’m a Doctor and This Is What’s Most Devastating About COVID Now.
For a while, Loving County was part of a handful of rural regions scattered throughout the U.S. that had managed to avoid COVID. However, the handful dwindled in recent months and when Esmeralda County in Nevada reported its first case on Nov. 13, Loving County became the last one standing—at least in the continental U.S. Kalawao County in Hawaii also has reported no known cases, according to The New York Times.
A staff member of a local health clinic in Loving County told The New York Times that one positive COVID test occurred over the summer. However, because the patient was not a permanent resident of the area, the case was never officially reported. And for the latest COVID news and more delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
While the virus itself hasn’t run through the rural region, residents of Loving County were still affected by the pandemic—oil prices dropped, workers were let go, and business shuttered, locals say. “With the pandemic, a lot of stuff shut down,” Ricardo Galan, who works for a supply company that cut 50 employees and now operates with a 12-person staff, told The New York Times. And to see where COVID is looking the worst, check out How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.