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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Philip Cohen, Ph.D. / Philip Cohen Publications / The COVID-19 epidemic in rural U.S. counties

Philip N Cohen (In press)

The COVID-19 epidemic in rural U.S. counties

SocArXiv.

Having first reached epidemic proportions in coastal metropolitan areas, COVID-19 has spread 4 around the country. Reported case rates vary across counties from zero to 125 per thousand 5 population (around a state prison in the rural county of Trousdale, Tennessee). Overall, rural 6 counties are underrepresented relative to their share of the population, but a growing proportion 7 of all daily cases and deaths have been reported in rural counties. This analysis uses daily 8 reports for all counties to present the trends and distribution of COVID-19 cases and deaths in 9 rural counties, from late March to May 16, 2020. I describe the relationship between population 10 density and case rates in rural and non-rural counties. Then I focus on noteworthy outbreaks 11 linked to prisons, meat and poultry plants, and nursing homes, many of which are linked to 12 high concentrations of Hispanic, American Indian, and Black populations. The growing 13 epidemic in rural counties is apparently driven by outbreaks concentrated in these institutional 14 settings, which are conducive to transmission. The impact of the epidemic in rural areas may 15 be heightened due to their weaker health infrastructure and more vulnerable populations, 16 especially due to age, socioeconomic status, and health conditions. As a result, the epidemic 17 may contribute to the ongoing decline of health, economic, and social conditions in rural areas.

Social and Economic Inequality, Coronavirus, Health Disparities, Health, Health in Social Context, Cohen, COVID-19
First published online: May 17th, 2020

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