Experts Fret as COVID-19 Moves Into Rural Areas

Until now, the worst of the coronavirus crisis has mostly been centered in the nation’s big cities: New York, Detroit, parts of L.A. County, and now New Orleans. But experts say the virus is quickly moving into rural areas and small towns that are even less equipped to handle a barrage of COVID-19 cases. Their ability to cope is a matter of growing concern.

The Sacramento Bee’s Ryan Sabalow and Jason Pohl recently wrote about what a coronavirus deluge would mean for rural counties in California. Their report is chilling. And it is backed up by warnings from health officials in places like Mono County.

“Try to imagine 100 people getting sick all at once tomorrow,” said Dr. Craig Burrows, Chief Medical Officer for Mono’s Mammoth Hospital. “If that happens, our small hospital, our small community, will be completely overwhelmed and people will die. “Let me say that again: People. Will. Die.”

According to Sabalow and Pohl’s report, 58% of ICU beds were already occupied in 2018. Some cities and hospitals fare far worse than others, however. For a full breakdown and list, click here.


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