Coronavirus and Flooding in the United States

Published Mar 26, 2020 Updated Apr 13, 2020

More than 100 million people are at risk of experiencing flooding this spring. Many live in areas projected to be hit hard by COVID-19.

Using data from epidemiological researchers at Columbia University, and seasonal flooding information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s spring forecast, we analyzed where the dual challenges of flooding and coronavirus infections are poised to hit the United States hardest.

Our analysis shows that the areas facing both the highest infection rates and flooding risks tend to be rural areas where access to health care facilities may be more limited.

Further analysis shows that, in regions that could experience significant flooding, strong social distancing measures could reduce the total number of COVID-19 cases by more than two-thirds, from more than 600,000 cases to roughly 170,000.