On Meet the Press yesterday, Dr. Deborah Birx sensibly stood up for an approach that takes account of differences from state to state and county to county, “Each state is different. And the reason we made the guidelines [for re-opening] and gating criteria very specific was also — and I’m sure a lot of people have missed the asterisk that said to look not only statewide, but also county by county.” She added that she’s been struck by “how different the outbreaks are from the metro regions, to the rural regions, to the county regions.”

Indeed, if you look at the county data, it’s clear that the emerging state-by-state “patchwork” that has some observers so worried isn’t nearly fine-grained and diverse enough — because regions and localities within states are enormously different, too.

To illustrate the point, consider what might be the 142 most absurdly locked-down counties in America (all drawn from the New York Times data set for the sake of consistency). New York State, along with New Jersey, has been incredibly hard hit, but not all of New York equally. These 12 counties haven’t been hit so hard…