Tara Smith, an epidemiology professor at Kent State University, told the Post that the rural spread will be sort of a checkerboard. “It’s not going to be a wave that spreads out uniformly over all of rural America; it’s going to be hot spots that come and go,” she said. “And I don’t know how well they’re going to be managed.” That's because "In many of those places, where the health-care system is already stretched thin, even a minor surge in patients is enough to overwhelm," the reporters note.
The first hot spots have been in meat-processing plants. "Of the 25 rural counties with the highest per capita case rates, 20 have a meatpacking plant or prison where the virus took hold and spread with abandon, then leaped into the community when workers took it home," the Post reports. "Infection has raced through immigrant worker communities, where poverty or immigration status prevent some of the sick from seeking care and language barriers hinder access to information."