171 Rural Counties Report First Case of COVID-19 in Past Four Days

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The novel coronavirus continued its march across rural America over the weekend. By Sunday night, April 5, two-thirds of rural counties had at least one case. Just over 200 rural counties have reported a death attributable to COVID-19.

The map above shows the spread of the virus and deaths as of Sunday night, April 5. Click on individual counties for more information, or explore a larger version of the map here. 

  • Green: Rural counties with no cases (665 counties)
  • Orange: Rural counties with cases of COVID-19 (1,109 counties)
  • Red: Rural counties with deaths (203 counties)
  • Pink: Urban with no cases (61 counties)
  • Gray: Urban with cases (575 counties)
  • Black: Urban with deaths (528 counties)

These figures likely under-report the presence of the disease, according to a study by researchers at the University of Texas. They estimate that even in counties that report no COVID-19 cases, there is a 9 percent chance that the virus is present in that community. 

If a county has one case, the Texas researchers predict that there is a 51 percent chance that the virus is spreading through the community.

From April 1 to 5, an additional 172 rural counties reported a case of coronavirus infection. Only 665 — or about a third — of rural counties have yet to report a case of COVID-19. Only 61 urban counties — 5 percent of all metro counties — say they have yet to find a COVID-19 case.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases continues to increase slightly faster in rural counties than in urban areas. Over the weekend (Friday through Sunday, April 3-5), cases in rural counties increased by 26 percent. Nationally, COVID-19 cases increased by 22 percent in the same time period.

In rural counties, there were 80 deaths reported over the weekend attributed to COVID-19.

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