Daily Yonder, By Bill Bishop
Nearly three out of every four rural counties have officially reported having a case of COVID-19 by the end of Thursday, according to data compiled from state health care agencies by USA Facts.
The map shows the spread of the novel coronavirus through rural America. The 130 rural counties in red reported their first case of COVID-19 between Sunday and Thursday, April 5-9, 2020. Only 31 counties (out of 1,164) metro counties have yet to report their first case of the virus as of the end of Thursday (April 9).
As of April 9, there have been 563 deaths from the virus in rural America. For the past week, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in rural counties has increased 12 to 17 % each day. Deaths in rural counties are increasing at about the same rate as the nation as a whole.
Deaths have been increasing the fastest in the suburbs of the nation’s major metropolitan areas, those with over a million people. Rural America still has a per capita rate of infection that is just a quarter of the national rate.
Click on the map and you can find data for your county. We have included the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the number of deaths as of April 9.
Within the national picture of spreading cases and deaths are local stories that explain why some places have suffered more from the virus than others. For instance, we noticed that Mitchell County, Georgia, reported 12 deaths between Sunday and Thursday. News reports tells us that there was an outbreak of the virus at a nursing home, infecting 26 residents and killing nine in the last week.
There was also an outbreak at a Tyson Foods plant in Camilla, the county seat. Two Tyson workers have died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which represents workers at the plant. Many workers at the Camilla plant commute from Albany, Georgia, which has had a large outbreak of the virus stemming from a funeral.
Kent County, Delaware, reported the largest number of new cases of COVID-19 in the last week of any rural county, with 128. It was followed by Litchfield County, Connecticut, with 118 and Sumter County, Georgia, with 111.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a world-wide event, but every community is experiencing it differently. Please tell us what’s happening in your community in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We can learn from each other.