Why Is Rural America Disproportionately Affected By The Pandemic?

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : December 23, 2020

Ever since the covid-19 pandemic began in March, the people of colour and others living in rural areas are disproportionately affected due to the pandemic. The biggest reason for this disparity is the fact that rural Americans have limited options when it comes to getting advanced healthcare. In most cases, they are dependent on the big hospitals in nearby cities when they have to get treatment for serious health conditions.

It is not that the Primary Health Care system in rural areas is very bad across the US. They are good enough to treat regular health issues and patients often visit nearby cities when they have serious health conditions. However, when it comes to dealing with a pandemic like covid-19, th0e rural Healthcare system has completely collapsed as they do not have enough ICU beds and other advanced equipment to provide treatment for serious cases.

Why Is Rural America Disproportionately Affected By The Pandemic?

Yet another reason for the rising number of cases in rural America is the fact that most people of colour living in these regions did not take the pandemic seriously in the early stages. Many of them believed that coronavirus was a Hoax and it would go away after the elections. Most of them did not use masks when they were in public places and social distancing was not seriously considered in these regions.

All these factors played a big role that led to a huge surge in the coronavirus cases in rural areas. When this was coupled with a lack of Healthcare options, the situation became very bad and it resulted in a lot of hospitalizations and deaths.

Why Is Rural America Disproportionately Affected By The Pandemic?

Even to this day, the hospitals in many rural areas do not have enough facilities to treat covid-19 and they often send such patients to nearby cities. In some cases, patients have to travel hundreds of miles before they get access to advanced Healthcare facilities. Apart from that, lack of precautions with regards to covid-19 protocols is also another reason why the rural population is disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The doctors in rural areas are having a tough time to deal with the situation as many hospitals in rural areas have only a few ICU beds and it is nowhere enough to handle a pandemic like covid-19. The rural areas did not have enough testing facilities and this also contributed to a large number of infections in the early stages of the pandemic.

The doctors are somewhat relieved now as there is a vaccine available in the market. It is now critical to engage the public with regards to the mass vaccination programs and ensure that they take the vaccines whenever it is available in rural areas. In a recent survey, it was noticed that several rural Americans were still hesitant to take the vaccines as they believed that it was unnecessary or unsafe.

The authorities have to work hard in this direction and make sure that the people are properly educated with regards to the covid-19 vaccines. The publicity campaigns to promote the safety and effectiveness of the covid-19 vaccines should be done aggressively by the local governments.

When such efforts are collectively put into promoting the mass vaccination program, the pandemic can be easily controlled even in the rural areas of America. In this way, the people who are disproportionately affected can get back to normal life in the near future. Most of the rural Americans also depended on daily labour and other small jobs that were affected the most during the pandemic. Due to economic slowdown, the situation became worse for these people and they were not able to handle the crisis in an effective way.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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