Strategies for Disseminating and Implementing COVID-19 Public Health Prevention Practices in Rural Areas

By Beth Prusaczyk, PhD, Department of Medicine, Division of General Medical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the United States (US) demands a similarly rapid scientific response to mitigate the impact. While the initial scientific discourse about the virus appropriately focused on virology, clinical features, and therapeutics, there is now equal, if not greater, attention on the public health practices that are immediately needed to slow the spread as the response shifts from―containment‖ to―mitigation.

To mitigate the spread of the virus, numerous states have enacted policies that restrict their residents statewide, such as closing all schools, limiting gatherings over a certain amount, or issuing ―shelter in place/stay at home‖ orders for all non-essential activities. These―social or physical distancing‖ practices are seen by many public health experts as the most effective tools currently available to slow the transmission of the virus.

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