Kansas City, MO – Missouri is No. 1 in the nation for the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to data on the New York Times interactive coronavirus map.
The U.S. average of positive COVID cases per capita is three, but in Missouri it's 11. The next closest states, at nine cases per capita, are Wyoming and Utah, then the Virgin Islands, Nevada and Arkansas each have eight.
Health officials in Missouri say the hardest-hit areas – the southwest and north-central – are primarily rural where the vaccination rates are the lowest. There are 10 counties in Missouri among the top-21 highest COVID-19 rates per capita in the US: Linn, Audrain, Laclede, Webster, McDonald, Dallas, Livingston, Wright, Taney and Joplin Counties.
The new coronavirus variants appear to be spreading rapidly in those areas. Some of those counties are reporting daily new case rates more than five times higher than before the Delta variant was discovered.
Most of those counties have vaccination rates below 30%, while the state is 38% fully vaccinated and 44% of people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine.
Here's the case rate per capita in some of Missouri most-populated counties:
St. Louis City - 3.9
St. Louis County - 4.9
St. Charles County - 5.6
Kansas City - 6.5
Jackson County - 7.6
Jefferson County - 3.6
As of last Thursday, Missouri was No. 2 for cases per capita.