In Pennsylvania, COVID-19 is Now a Rural, Urban, and Suburban Problem


The coronavirus first entered Pennsylvania with a vengeance in the Philadelphia region. Much of the rest of the state was spared as hospitalizations and deaths mounted here and farther north.

During the summer, the virus concentrated on Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania, said Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s secretary of health.

Now, maps of infections show a new pattern. “It’s everywhere,” Levine said. Just as the virus has taken off in Midwestern and Western states that had previously seen little infection, it is spreading in Pennsylvania’s rural counties, along with smaller cities and the big metropolitan areas. Only a few sparsely populated counties have still seen little of the virus, she said.

Some of the places with the highest incidence rates — cases per 100,000 in population — are counties that usually don’t make much news: Huntingdon, Bradford, Montour, and Lackawanna. Some smaller Southeastern Pennsylvania counties — Lebanon, Schuylkill, and Berks — also have rates well above the state average. Philadelphia and Delaware Counties are also above the state average incidence rate, while nearby Bucks, Chester and Montgomery are below it.

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