Pew: Rural Response to Coronavirus Could Be Hampered by Years of Population Loss

EXCERPT: “The worst impact of the coronavirus as of early April has been in urban areas, but the problem is quickly spreading to less dense regions. Hospitals and public health agencies in the nation’s rural counties, many of which were already struggling before the pandemic took hold, may lack the resources to respond, in part because of shrinking populations. As data released March 26 by the Census Bureau shows, most of the nation’s rural counties have lost residents since 2010. Population losses weaken a region’s fiscal and economic health, eroding its workforce and productivity as well as the tax revenue available to fund health care programs. With counties serving as critical providers of hospital and public health services, the decline in the rural tax base has probably weakened the nation’s ability to respond to the crisis in many large, less populated areas.” FULL STORY: