Bloomberg: Coronavirus Is Coming for Rural America

EXCERPT: “The course of the Covid-19 pandemic in rural Mower County, Minnesota, is hand-written across six easel-sized sheets of paper affixed to the wall of the local Emergency Operations Center. Six cases and no deaths were recorded on March 22, the first entry. Pam Kellogg, Mower County’s community health division manager, points to the fourth sheet, covering much of May. “It was the third week when things really hit us.” On May 31, Mower reported 64 new cases, for a total of 318 out of a population of about 40,000. By mid-June, it had the second-highest case incidence in Minnesota, and by the end of the month it had nearly 1,000 infections. Mower’s experience is increasingly common. Of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest number of recent Covid-19 cases per resident, nine are nonmetropolitan areas with populations under 50,000. There are several factors behind that surge, including the prevalence of older populations, meat-processing plants and communal living among immigrant labor forces. But what it adds up to is a quietly growing crisis. For many of these rural communities, confronting the coronavirus pandemic will require a lot more than issuing stay-at-home orders — and there won’t be much help from Washington or anywhere else.” FULL STORY: