COVID-19 spreads in southern and midwestern states


The coronavirus pandemic continues its deadly march through rural counties and small towns across the country, led by outbreaks in the southern and midwestern states that are becoming new epicenters of the epidemic.

According to an analysis by the demographer of the Brookings Institution, William Frey, almost 80% of Americans now live in countries where the virus is widely spread.

In the past week, 176 counties have started to see a significant spread of the virus. The vast majority of them, 159, are smaller urban or rural counties. Increased transmission in these regions shows that the virus has spread outward from its original poles in major cities like New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans and in neighboring regions.

But the virus is also starting to attack some cities that have avoided an initial wave, a disturbing reminder that it could still infect millions of Americans who have so far been safe.

Highly populated areas like Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida, are now reporting dozens of new cases. Collin County, Texas, in the Dallas metroplex, and Wake County, North Carolina, are also showing signs of wider spread.

The same goes for smaller, more rural communities like Yell County, Ark., And peri-urban areas outside of big cities like Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Columbus, Ohio.

“The United States is very large and diverse in terms of population density and movement. This is partly why we are witnessing different experiences across the country, “said Amira Roess, epidemiologist at the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University. “In general, we continue to see epidemics in less urban areas in the United States”

In the past week, more than half of the counties reporting generalized infection for the first time are suburbs, and almost 30% are rural or small town counties. Only 15 percent of these are urban cores like Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Most of the counties with a high prevalence, 59%, are in the southern states. Midwestern counties account for 22% of these disturbing new counties, and western counties for 17%. Only a few counties in the Northeast – two in New York and one in Maine – were added to the widespread list, in part because the region was so badly hit in the first wave of the virus.

As the virus spreads to more rural areas, there is an increasing risk for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump appeals Brooke Rollins as interim chief of domestic policy, Trump leads pandemic fight in Michigan Trump to celebrate Memorial Day at Fort McHenry in Baltimore PLUSare the most ardent supporters. The 176 counties where the virus spreads collectively gave Trump almost 53% of the vote in the 2016 presidential election, and gave a Democratic candidate Hillary ClintonSenator Hillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP says he will try to prevent the adjournment of the chamber for the Memorial Day break Why Trump and the GOP are having problems in the Trump campaign in Arizona: 2016 was no accident MORE only 41% of the vote.

According to Frey, more than three times as many countries where the virus has spread widely have favored Trump over Clinton.

“There is a clear trend in the work among countries currently experiencing high prevalence of COVID-19 for the first time,” Frey wrote. “Compared to the countries where the pandemic first struck, these are much more like the rest of America, and in particular, reflect the types of areas that led President Trump to victory in 2016.”

Part of the math is because residents of more rural and conservative areas are most likely to listen to and trust the advice of Trump himself.

Trump downplayed the threat of the virus from its earliest days, and in the past few weeks has called on governors to start unblocking their economies, hoping that a rebounding economy would help his chances of re-election this year.

If the president tells the Americans to continue social distancing, even as economies reopen, perhaps he could influence those who are now more and more likely to be exposed to the virus.

The virus arriving in Trump’s country “suggests that the rhetoric of some of the President’s supporters against maintaining public health measures could become more silent,” Frey wrote.


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