Monday, May 04, 2020

County-level study shows impact of pandemic is growing faster in rural areas, which are probably more vulnerable

Rate of increase in coronavirus cases and deaths. Kaiser Family Foundation chart; click the image to enlarge it.
Kaiser Family Foundation analysis compares coronavirus cases and covid-19 deaths in metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. "While metro counties still have significantly higher cases and deaths per capita, non-metro counties are experiencing faster growth rates, potentially signaling challenges ahead," KFF reports. "Some counties with the highest rates of cases and deaths are located in Georgia, where the state has moved to significantly ease social distancing measures."

Metro counties had about three times as many confirmed coronavirus cases and about four times as many covid-19 deaths as non-metro counties, as of April 27. Because the confirmed death rate is only slightly higher in metro counties, the differences in deaths are mostly due to differences in infection rates, KFF reports.

"Less densely populated rural areas initially saw slower spread of the new coronavirus, and both cases and deaths remain lower in non-metro areas than metro areas," KFF reports. "However, there are troubling signs that the rates of growth in both cases and deaths are increasing more rapidly in rural areas, where the population tends to be older, younger people are more likely to have-risk health conditions, and hospitals have fewer ICU beds per capita."

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