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Cook County on pace to overtake Queens as county with most COVID-19 cases nationwide

As early as Thursday, Cook County could overtake Queens County, New York, as the county with the most cases, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis. 

Doctors and nurses tend to a 56-year-old woman suffering from COVID-19 on April 28 at Roseland Community Hospital.
Doctors and nurses tend to a 56-year-old woman suffering from COVID-19 on April 28 at Roseland Community Hospital.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Cook County has been the center of Illinois’ coronavirus outbreak, and now it’s on pace to become the county with the most COVID-19 cases of any across the United States.

As early as Thursday, Cook County could overtake Queens County, New York, as the county with the most cases, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis.

On Wednesday, Queens County reported 56,899 cases, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University, while Cook County’s tally stood at 56,406 confirmed to have the virus.

But while data suggests New York’s outbreak is on a downward trend from its peak, Wednesday marked Illinois’ worst day yet with 192 coronavirus deaths. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state health officials say the state could remain in a peak through June, with one projection estimating as many as 300 deaths per day.

Cook County’s death toll of 2,589 still trails Queens, where 4,529 deaths have been reported.

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Six additional New York counties are among the top ten nationwide for coronavirus case totals, while the next highest Illinois county — Lake — was No. 49 in the nation as of Wednesday with 5,662 cases.

And putting that “most cases” mantle further into perspective, Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation with 5.1 million residents, more than double the size of Queens County.

Facing calls from some local leaders growing impatient with his phased plan to reopen regions of the state, Pritzker said “this virus is still among us.

“This pandemic is not over. And to pretend otherwise in a misguided attempt to reclaim what we’ve lost will only make this last longer.”