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The rate of new Covid-19 infections in rural America climbed by a third last week, the fifth increase in as many weeks, according to a Daily Yonder analysis.

New infections in metropolitan counties also grew, but at a slightly slower pace.

Rural counties reported about 44,000 new infections last week, up from about 33,000 two weeks ago.

In metropolitan counties, new infections grew by about 20% to 484,000, the highest number since mid-February.

Covid-related deaths declined in both rural and metropolitan counties last week. Rural counties reported 414 deaths, down 13% from two weeks ago. Metropolitan counties reported 1,598 deaths, down about 20% from two weeks ago.

The Covid-related death rate has been higher in rural America than in urban America for 88 out of the last 93 weeks. Cumulatively, the rural death rate is more than a third higher than the metropolitan death rate. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 174,260 rural Americans have died, which is equivalent to one out of ever 264 rural residents. In metropolitan counties, 779,101 people have died, which is equivalent to one out of every 362 residents.

Red-Zone Counties Rise

This week’s map shows the resurgence of Covid-19 along the northeastern seaboard and the Great Lakes region. The Northeast already had most of its counties in the red zone, meaning they had weekly infection rates of more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents. This past week, infection rates climbed past the red-zone threshold farther west and south.

Michigan added 27 counties to its red-zone list (22 rural and five metropolitan) last week. Illinois added 19 (12 rural and seven metro). Minnesota added 13 (10 rural and three metro).

To the east, Pennsylvania added 49 counties to its red-zone list (19 rural and 30 metropolitan).

Nationally, roughly a third of all counties are in the red zone, twice as many as about a month ago.

Florida did not report cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, so actual infection rates are likely a bit higher.

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