Monday, September 21, 2020

Covid-19 deaths shift rural attitudes about pandemic

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the U.S. at the beginning of the year, it mainly affected urban areas, and rural residents tended to take it less seriously. But as federal efforts to limit the spread of the disease often faltered, the United States' "extraordinarily high case load — more than 6.5 million so far — and death count have translated into steadily growing acceptance of the preventive steps scientists recommend," The Washington Post reports.

In rural Vermont, for example, twin brothers Cleon and Leon Boyd died within days of each other, and 11 immediate relatives were infected. "The Boyd family’s harrowing experience rippled through the towns where they lived and worked, sharply altering attitudes toward the coronavirus and spreading adoption of social distancing and face coverings," the Post reports.

The Post story also notes the death of Pamela Sue Rush in rural Lowndes County, in Alabama's Black Belt, where a quarter of the residents live below the poverty line. Many live in small mobile homes that make social distancing difficult, and they also often lack a functioning septic system, which can encourage the spread of disease. Rush, 50, has two children. 

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