By The Marshall Project, May 8, 2020
Since March, The Marshall Project has been tracking how many people are being sickened and killed by COVID-19 in prisons and how widely it has spread across the country and within each state. Here, we will regularly update these figures counting the number of people infected and killed nationwide and in each prison system until the crisis abates.
By May 6, at least 20,119 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 39 percent increase from the week before.
Much of the remarkable recent growth in coronavirus cases has been due to a small handful of states—Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina among them—that began aggressively testing nearly everyone at prisons where people had become sick. This spate of testing would suggest that coronavirus had been circulating in prisons in much greater numbers than known, and that in the many states where tests have not been prevalent, far more people may have been carrying it than were initially reported.