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Cook County surpasses Queens, NY, as county with most COVID-19 cases in U.S.

On Thursday, officials reported another 138 coronavirus-related deaths in Illinois as the state’s death toll nears 4,000.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Cook County has surpassed Queens County in New York as the U.S. county with the most coronavirus cases based on Sun-Times analysis of the latest public data.

There have been 58,457 total cases of COVID-19 recorded in Cook County, which includes all of Chicago and many of its suburbs, after officials added 2,051 new cases in the last 24 hours. Queens, by comparison, added only 336 cases over the same time frame to bring its total to 58,084.

Cook County still has a lower rate of COVID-19 per capita given its population (5.1 million) is more than twice as large as Queens (2.25 million). But Queens also has a much higher population density with 20,500 people per square mile compared to 5,500 per square mile in Cook County, which can make social distancing measures more challenging to maintain.

Illinois officials announced Thursday that the statewide case total has increased to 87,937 while the death tally closes in on 4,000. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration recently warned that projections show the state could see 50-150 deaths per day into June or later.

In addition to Queens, six other New York counties have been 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.

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.”