The pace of new Covid-19 infections fell for the 11th consecutive week last week, reaching its lowest level since June 2021, according to a Daily Yonder analysis.

New cases dropped to 16,700, a decline of 8% compared to two weeks ago. Rural infections are down 97% from their peak in mid-January.

Meanwhile, metropolitan counties saw an increase of 25% in new cases last week, rising to about 219,000 for the week compared to 175,000 two weeks ago. But even with the uptick, metropolitan infections are 95% lower than they were during the height of the Omicron surge.

The number of Covid-related deaths decreased in both rural and metropolitan counties last week. Rural America reported 713 deaths, a decline of 40% from two weeks ago and the lowest weekly count since August 2021. Metropolitan counties also fell by nearly 40% last week, dropping to 2,851, also the lowest number since August.

The rural death rate was higher than the metropolitan death rate last week – a trend that goes back nearly a year. The weekly death rate was 53% higher in rural counties than urban ones.

Cumulatively, over the course of the pandemic the rural death rate is about a third higher than the metropolitan death rate.

  • Only about a 10th of rural counties last week were in the red zone, defined as having rates of 100 or more cases per 100,000 for a single week. About 20% of metropolitan counties were in the red zone.
  • The metropolitan infection rate was higher than the rural rate for the third week in a row. The metro rate of about 78 new cases per 100,000 residents is more than twice that of the rural rate of about 36 cases per 100,000 residents.
  • In seven states, the rural infection rate was higher than the metropolitan rate. These were Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
  • Vermont had the highest rural infection rate in the country last week, at 161 new cases per 100,000 rural residents. Alaska, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts were next highest, all with over 100 new infections per 100,000 rural residents.
  • Vermont also had the highest urban infection rate last week, followed by Texas, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
  • Kentucky and most of Missouri are not included in this week’s report because of reporting anomalies. That missing data artificially lowers both the metro and rural national infection rates.

The Daily Yonder’s analysis covers Monday, April 4, through Sunday, April 10. Previous-week comparisons are to Monday, March 28, to Sunday, April 3. Data for these weeks is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Weeks prior to March 27 are based on data from USA Facts, supplemented with CDC data.  

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