Santa Fe, New Mexico – While the coronavirus wreaks havoc across the United States, primarily in large urban areas, more than a third of the country’s counties have yet to report any positive results from COVID-19 infections, from according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
Information compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows that 1,297 counties have not registered confirmed cases of COVID-19 of the 3,142 in the nation. The number of counties with no confirmed cases has declined rapidly, dropping more than half as the AP prepared to publish the story.
Of the counties with no confirmed cases, 85% are in rural areas, from predominantly white communities in the Appalachian Mountains and Great Plains to primarily Hispanic and Native American strips in the southwest of the country, which generally have less contact with people. that can help transmit the virus.RELATED
At the same time, counties with zero COVID-19 tests have a higher average age and a higher proportion of people over the age of 60 – who are most vulnerable to severe symptoms caused by the virus – and have far fewer beds in intensive therapy units. The median household income is also lower, limiting your health care options.
The demographics of these counties have important implications as the government of President Donald Trump draws up guidelines to classify counties by risk of spreading the virus, empowering local authorities to review social distancing orders that have sunk the American economy. President Trump has scheduled a return to normal economy for Easter Sunday, April 12.
Infectious disease experts see an opportunity to curb the spread of the virus in remote areas of the country that benefit from social estrangement and “natural” isolation, if first cases are detected and aggressive quarantines are implemented. This can buy time for rural health networks to provide the necessary care and reduce the number of deaths.
But they also fear that sporadic coronavirus testing may be covering up outbreaks that, if left unattended, could overwhelm health systems.