Rural Counties Seeing Faster Growth in COVID-19 Cases, Deaths

New data indicates rural communities have been hit hard by the coronavirus in recent weeks.(DARRON CUMMINGS/AP)

THE CORONAVIRUS WAS slower to make an impact in much of rural America, but cases and deaths have risen significantly in recent weeks, a new analysis shows.

The toll of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has shocked urban areas like New Orleans and New York City. But concerns abound that the virus could devastate rural communities, where populations tend to skew older and sicker and where there are fewer intensive care beds. Since 2010, more than 120 rural hospitals have shuttered altogether.

The new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that while rural communities have fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people than urban areas, rates of both coronavirus cases and deaths have surged at a faster pace in more rural counties in the last two weeks. The average number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people rose 125% in non-metro counties – or those that are largely rural, according to the analysis – and by 68% in metro counties between April 13 and 27, according to the analysis. Deaths rose 169% in more rural areas and 113% in the more urban counties, reaching respective rates of 4.4 and 17 per 100,000.

Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association, says the risk the virus poses to rural America has been readily apparent.

“You can see this coming,” he recently told U.S. News. “Those communities most at risk for this COVID-19 are concentrated in small towns all across the U.S.”

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Source: US News