Covid-19 infection rates showed virtually no change in both urban and rural counties last week, but death rates dropped nationwide, according to a Daily Yonder analysis.
The rural infection rate was 117.6 infections per 100,000 residents last week, less than a percentage point increase from two weeks ago, according to CDC reports. Rural America reported 54,183 new infections to the CDC last week, 25 more cases than the previous week.
In metropolitan areas, there were 388,534 new infections last week, about a 2% drop from two weeks ago. The urban infection rate was 137.7 cases per 100,000.
Because the CDC does not report on infections detected through home tests, case rates are likely much higher.
The rural Covid-19 death rate decreased by 31% last week. Rural counties reported 398 deaths, 186 fewer than the week before. The rural death rate was 0.86 deaths per 100,000 residents.
In metropolitan counties, Covid-19 deaths totaled 2,231, a 5% decrease from 2,352 two weeks ago. The death rate was 0.79 deaths per 100,000, 9% lower than the rural rate.
The cumulative death rate in rural America was 410.5 deaths per 100,000 residents last week, 37% higher than the cumulative urban rate of 299.7 deaths per 100,000. At the beginning of the pandemic, cumulative urban death rates were higher than rural rates. But Covid-19 spread quickly when it entered rural communities, catching up to urban areas by December 5, 2020, when the cumulative rate was 84 deaths per 100,000.