Rural Covid-19 death rates climbed by 90% during the week of January 5th, reaching a rate rural America hasn’t seen since last September.

Infections

Rural America reported 61,642 new infections last week, a 14% decline from the 72,000 reported the previous week. The case rate was 133.82 new infections per 100,000. More than a third of rural counties had case rates higher than 100 per 100,000.

In metropolitan areas, the infection rate dropped by 13%. There were 337,109 reported cases in urban America last week, where the case rate was 119.47 infections per 100,000 residents. More than half of metropolitan counties reported case rates higher than 100 per 100,000.

Southern states still took the lead in infection rates this week, but it was the metropolitan areas that reported the highest infection rates in the Southeast, compared to the previous week when the rural South was the epicenter of infection rates. 

In the urban South, the infection rate was 164 cases per 100,000 residents, 12% higher than the Southern rural rate of 147 cases per 100,000. 

Infection rates are likely much higher since the CDC does not report on infection detected through home testing. 

Deaths

Rural counties reported 803 deaths last week, 382 more deaths and a 90% increase from the previous week. The rural rate of deaths was 1.74 per 100,000 residents. Rural death rates haven’t been that high since last September.

In metropolitan areas, there were 3,087 Covid-19 deaths last week, a 38% increase from the previous week. The urban rate of deaths was 1.09 deaths per 100,000 residents. 

Cumulatively, the rural death rate was 415 deaths per 100,000 last week, while the cumulative urban death rate was 303 deaths per 100,000. The cumulative rate of deaths is still 37% higher in rural counties than metropolitan counties, but the disparity between rural and urban deaths has not widened since April of 2022. 

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