Rural Issue

Rural deaths from COVID twice that of urban

The Rural Policy Research Institute says COVID-19 deaths among rural residents were twice that of urban residents in the week ending October first.

Fred Ullrich, with the College of Public Health at Iowa State University, tells Brownfield Ag News that same finding was also seen September 15th, a far cry from the early days of the pandemic when urban areas were hardest hit and there were just rural hotspots in places like meat packing plants and truck stops.

He says fall of 2020 through January 2021 was the biggest of four rural surges.

“And, it was at that time (January ’21), as you might recall, that vaccines were introduced and we saw a very sharp decline in cases and mortality that tailed off a little bit in the spring and then continued to fall until July of this year when we once again saw this huge spike in cases and mortality.” Driven by the Delta variant.

Ullrich says cases are now on the decline but it’s not a reason to relax.

“And, I’m not sure how uptight anybody other than health care professionals has been but, again, the cases and the incident and the mortality are going down but the rates are still VERY high.”

He adds, “Who’s to say that mu or Zeta (variants) or what have you that is right around the corner won’t suddenly rear its ugly head and be driving rates back through the roof again in three months?”

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