Friday, October 23, 2020

Why are rural areas seeing worst coronavirus outbreaks? N.Y. Times has answers in story with maps, county rankings

New York Times chart
The coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately hurting rural America, and has been since August. About one in four covid-19 deaths are now in rural counties; in in March and April, when almost all deaths were in metropolitan areas.

"Now, with the national case count and hospitalization rates approaching a third peak, none of the country’s biggest hotspots are in a large city," Lauren Leatherby reports for The New York Times. "Almost all the counties with the largest outbreaks have populations under 50,000, and most have populations under 10,000. Nearly all are in the Midwest or the Mountain West. Nursing homes, prisons and jails are significant vectors for spreading the infection in rural counties."

Many rural hospitals are struggling to handle the surge and some are over capacity. "Overwhelmed by the record case numbers, North Dakota suspended its contact tracing program this week," Leatherby reports. "New Mexico’s governor, also seeing hospital beds fill up in her state, plans to put in effect new restrictions on restaurants, bars and retail stores.

See the Times story for plenty of maps, charts, and a ranking of rural counties with the highest infection cases and rates. Also, The Daily Yonder has been tracking the rural spread for months.

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