Portland Has 2nd Lowest COVID-19 Case Rate Among Major U.S. Cities
6 Oct 2020
Economic News, GPI in the News
A recent study found that Portland has the second-lowest rate of COVID-19 cases per capita among the nation's 30 largest cities. The study, conducted by the Seattle mayor's office, compared coronavirus case rates for the country's 30 most populous cities.
Portland, represented by Multnomah County data, came in second, behind only Seattle. Multnomah County has seen 8.9 infections per 1,000 people, just above Seattle's 7.4 cases per 1,000. While that data isn't strictly comparable, Multnomah County's case rate is lower than that of King County, where Seattle is located.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas, Nashville, El Paso, Memphis and Phoenix topped the list of cities with the highest rates of COVID-19 cases. Las Vegas had a considerably higher rate of cases than its counterparts, with 77 cases per 1,000 residents.
While it's unclear exactly why Portland and Seattle coronavirus rates are so low, the Willamette Week points to swift action by both Oregon and Washington officials to issue shutdown orders and mask-wearing mandates. Following the shutdowns, both Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued detailed guidelines for safe phased reopenings for businesses. Now, businesses throughout the Greater Portland region are finding creative ways to get back to work, including hosting virtual events and transforming parking spots into outdoor eateries.
According to a study examining the economic effects of public health interventions during a pandemic, the Portland economy has a history of recovering quickly from pandemics: following the 1918 flu contagion, Portland saw a dramatic increase in sector-specific employment.
The Greater Portland region's low COVID-19 case rates bode well for another similarly strong economic recovery this time around. The Greater Portland Economic Development District, staffed by Greater Portland Inc, is currently developing an economic recovery plan for the region in response to COVID-19.