coronavirus illinois

By the Numbers: How Coronavirus Impacted the Chicago Area in 2020

This year, we lost 12,599 of our neighbors in the greater Chicago area to coronavirus-related illnesses.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

As NBC 5 Investigates continues to compile daily metrics related to the coronavirus pandemic, the team looked back on the impact the coronavirus had on the greater Chicago area over the past year.

First, 2020 coronavirus totals for the Chicago area, comprised here of the 17 counties that make up the NBC 5-Telemundo Chicago viewing area (Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, McHenry and Will Counties in Illinois, and Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana):

This year, we lost 12,599 of our neighbors in the greater Chicago area to coronavirus-related illnesses.

That’s more than 30 Boeing 747s, each filled to capacity with people just from the greater Chicago area. Put another way, that’s enough Chicago-area residents to fill every seat in Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, with a line of 2,100-plus more people stretching out the door, who all died from the coronavirus.


The hardest-hit county in our area is southwest suburban LaSalle County, which lost a total of 186 residents throughout the course of the pandemic. That’s a rate of 163 people who have died for every 100,000 people in LaSalle County.

The Chicago-area county with the lowest rate of COVID-related deaths is Kendall County, which is adjacent to hardest-hit LaSalle County to the east. Kendall County lost 68 of its residents to coronavirus-related illnesses. That’s a rate of 59 deaths for every 100,000 Kendall County residents.

This year, a total of 723,235 – nearly three quarters of a million -- people in the greater Chicago area were infected by coronavirus.

That’s enough people to fill every single hospital bed in every single hospital in Illinois – 23 times over. Put another way, that’s equal to every man, woman and child in the cities of Aurora, Naperville, Rockford, Joliet and Waukegan, combined – all diagnosed with coronavirus.

Hardest-hit in the greater Chicago area, in terms of total coronavirus infections, was Kankakee County, which has reported 10,623 total cases, equal to 9,364 cases per every 100,000 Kankakee County residents. That’s nearly one out of every 10 citizens in Kankakee County, diagnosed with coronavirus at some point this year.

Newton County, Indiana – just east of Kankakee County -- has reported the smallest proportion of its residents affected by coronavirus this past year in the greater Chicago area. Newton County has reported a total of 820 cases, which translates to an average of 5,757 cases per 100,000 people.

Currently, LaPorte County in Indiana has the Chicago-area’s highest positivity rate, at 24.5%.

That means nearly one out of every four people who took a test for coronavirus over the past week tested positive.

The lowest positivity rate in the Chicago area currently belongs to Kankakee County. So, even though Kankakee has reported more cases per capita than any other Chicago-area county, it currently is doing much better, with fewer than six out of every 100 people testing positive for coronavirus, over the past week.

LaPorte County also has the strongest indicator for a current “hot spot” – which are very recent cases measured by population.

Over the final week of 2020, LaPorte County has reported new diagnoses at the rate of 65 new cases per 100,000 people.

The Chicago-area county currently in the best shape, with the fewest recent diagnoses per 100,000 people, is also in Indiana. Newton County has currently recorded only 21 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the past week.

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