Thursday, September 10, 2020
Study says covid-19 death rates are higher in rural counties with larger shares of Black and Hispanic residents
"A new study in the Journal of Rural Health calls on state and county health departments to release more race-specific information on covid-19 cases to create a fuller picture of the pandemic's impact on people of color in rural areas," April Simpson reports for Stateline. "The study, published Sept. 7, finds that rural covid-19 mortality rates are highest in counties with the largest percentages of Black and Hispanic people. Researchers . . . did not calculate race-specific mortality rates."
"The study calls for increasing free covid-19 testing in rural areas with vulnerable populations and partnerships between local governments and community-based organizations to educate, test and trace," Simpson reports.
Rural Black and Hispanic populations are particularly high in the South and Southwest, areas that have been hard-hit by the pandemic, Simpson reports. These populations are more likely to die from the virus because they're also more likely to have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure; more likely to work blue-collar jobs that make social distancing difficult; and less likely to have access to health care. Among Hispanic residents, the fear of deportation may keep them from seeking medical care.