New Analysis Highlights Rural and Racial Disparities in Accessing COVID-19 Testing

According to a new Surgo Foundation analysis: Nearly two-thirds (64%) of all rural counties in the United States do not have a COVID-19 testing site, leaving 20.7 million people in a ‘testing desert.’ Of the rural population without a COVID-19 testing site, 8.5 million (41% of this population, 20% of the total rural population) live in highly vulnerable areas geographically concentrated in four states: Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Arkansas. Drilling deeper, 1.27 million rural Black Americans (35% of the rural black population) live in highly vulnerable testing deserts. Compared to the average rural American, Black Americans are 1.7 times more likely to live in these areas. And rural Black Americans are 2.7 times as likely to be living in a vulnerable area with a lack of testing sites and increasing deaths, compared to the average rural American.