Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Decline of coronavirus infections in rural areas slows greatly after six weeks of big decreases; see county-level data

New coronavirus infection rates, Feb. 21-27
Daily Yonder map; click the image to enlarge it or click here for the interactive version.

The number of new coronavirus infections in rural counties fell by only 1 percent last week, Feb. 21-27, compared to an average decline of about 20% for the preceding six weeks and a 30% decline for each of the preceding two weeks, Tim Murphy and Tim Marema report for The Daily Yonder.

Meanwhile, "The number of Covid-related deaths in rural counties dropped by 15% last week to its lowest level since the second week of November. Changes in Covid-19 death rates generally lag changes in infection rates by several weeks, due to the time it takes infections to run their course," the Yonder reports. "The number of new infections in rural counties last week was 55,498, which is a drop of 801 cases from the previous week’s total. This was smallest decline in new infections since the infection rate began to decline seven weeks ago."

The number of rural and urban counties on the red-zone list rose slightly last week after seven straight weeks of decline. Red zones are those with 100 or more new coronavirus infections per 100,000 residents in one week. It's unclear whether extreme winter weather in the South over the past two weeks may have skewed data reporting. "But Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, which were affected by the storm two weeks ago, were three of the states with the largest increase in red-zone counties," Murphy and Marema report.

Click here for more data, charts and regional analysis from the Yonder, including an interactive map with county-level data.

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