Coronavirus has been directly affecting U.S. communities for approximately two months. The majority of the cases are still in densely populated urban communities, but there has certainly been a spread to more rural states and more rural communities within each state. Knowing where outbreaks are and how the disease is spreading relative to your community can help prepare individuals in those communities for minimizing infections. This can be particularly important for many rural communities, especially in Montana and other northern Great Plains states, because of the older populations that tend to live in those communities and the potential for a higher economic impact on those communities.
To better understand how the virus has spread across the United States and has increasingly begun to be seen in rural communities, University of Iowa’s College of Public Health has put together a visual timeline of the spread between early-February and late-March.
The data show that much of the initial outbreak begin in metropolitan communities. However, around mid-March, many more rural counties began to see reported cases. It is also important to note that because there are many COVID-19 cases that are mild and testing of for the disease has been slow and (in many rural counties) unavailable for all but the most severe cases, there is likely an underestimation of the spread.
To stay current about where COVID-19 cases have been reported, USA Facts provides an interactive, county-level map of the outbreak. As you can view below, the website allows you to hover over different counties and view information related to the COVID-19 public health pandemic.
Are you seeing the effects of COVID-19 in your community? What are the economic and social implications that you’ve noticed so far?