TitleDynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic in urban and rural areas in the United States.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsCuadros, DF, Branscum, AJ, Mukandavire, Z, F Miller, DW, MacKinnon, N
JournalAnn Epidemiol
Date Published04/2021

PURPOSE: There is a growing concern about the COVID-19 epidemic intensifying in rural areas in the United States (U.S.). In this study, we described the dynamics of COVID-19 cases and deaths in rural and urban counties in the U.S.

METHODS: Using data from April 1 to November 12, 2020, from Johns Hopkins University, we estimated COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates and conducted comparisons between urban and rural areas in three time periods at the national level, and in states with higher and lower COVID-19 incidence rates.

RESULTS: Results at the national level showed greater COVID-19 incidence rates in urban compared to rural counties in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. at the beginning of the epidemic. However, the intensity of the epidemic has shifted to a rapid surge in rural areas. In particular, high incidence states located in the Mid-west of the country had more than 3,400 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people compared to 1,284 cases per 100,000 people in urban counties nationwide during the third period (August 30 to November 12).

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the current epicenter of the epidemic is located in states with higher infection rates and mortality in rural areas. Infection prevention and control efforts including healthcare capacity should be scaled up in these vulnerable rural areas.

Alternate JournalAnn Epidemiol
PubMed ID33894385
PubMed Central IDPMC8061094