The coronavirus pandemic that has hammered some of America’s largest cities is now spreading to smaller rural areas, a progression that will bring a virus President Trump once downplayed to the doorsteps of voters who sent him to the White House.
Early epicenters of the disease in the United States have concentrated in urban settings. The first major outbreaks struck Seattle and San Francisco, followed by the greater New York City area that has suffered hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases.
But in recent weeks, the coronavirus has spread to rural areas, especially southern states like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia and the Midwest, hitting Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Up until late March, 80 percent of the counties with high prevalence of the coronavirus were home to large urban cores, according to a new analysis by William Frey, a senior demographer at the Brookings Institution. But over the last three weeks, the share of suburban, small metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas experiencing coronavirus prevalence has grown.
Now, more than half the counties showing signs of rapid growth are outside metro areas.