Coronavirus Was Slow to Spread to Rural America. Not Anymore. – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/08/us/coronavirus-rural-america-cases.html

«Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota has suggested that the stricter measures violated personal liberties, and she said her state’s rural character made it better positioned to handle the outbreak.

“South Dakota is not New York City,” Ms. Noem said at a news conference last week.»

Uh huh.

«The loss of 120 rural hospitals over the past decade has left many towns defenseless, and more hospitals are closing even as the pandemic spreads.»

«“You say, wait a minute, I know them!” she said. “It’s, like, oh my God, I knew them. I used to talk to them. I knew their family. Their kids. It’s a blow to the community each time.”»

Coming home, now. After all that cost-cutting and streamlining.

«“You’d think in rural Oklahoma, that we all live so far apart, but there’s one place where people congregate, and that’s at the nursing home,” she said. “I thought I was safe here in Southwest Oklahoma, I didn’t think there would be a big issue with it, and all of a sudden, bam.”»

Probably true of churches and bars, too. We’re social animals.

«Darvin Bentlage, a Missouri rancher, says he is having trouble selling his cattle because auctions have been canceled. In areas without reliable internet access, adults are struggling to work remotely and children are having to get assignments and school updates delivered to their door.»

«“It’s just absolutely crazy,” said Michael Caputo, a state delegate in Fairmont, W.Va., where the Fairmont Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in the county, closed in mid-March. “Across the country, they’re turning hotels and sports complexes into temporary hospitals. And here we’ve got a hospital where the doors are shut.”

For now, there is an ambulance posted outside the emergency room, in case sick people show up looking for help.»

Can you imagine showing up at a hospital, in pain and scared, and being told, “Sorry, we’re closed, we’ll have to take you to the next county over.”?

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