Editor's note

New York City and other urban centers have been hardest hit so far by COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean rural America is safe. In fact, rural residents – 30% of the U.S. population – face a unique risk because of the fragility of hospitals and health care access in rural America.

More than 120 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, including 19 in 2019 alone. COVID-19 could make the problem even worse, explains Kevin J. Bennett, who studies rural health care at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. While there are no easy fixes, expanding insurance coverage and providing incentives for doctors to work in rural areas could help, he writes.

Also today:

Lynne Anderson

Senior Health + Medicine Editor

Top story

The empty streets of Hebron, Illinois, population 1,200, a village three miles south of the Illinois / Wisconsin border. Getty Images / Scott Olson

COVID-19 may hit rural residents hard, and that spells trouble because of lack of rural health care

Kevin J. Bennett, University of South Carolina

Rural America has special problems as it copes with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Science + Technology

  • Want to know how many people have the coronavirus? Test randomly

    Daniel N. Rockmore, Dartmouth College; Michael Herron, Dartmouth College

    Researchers and public health officials still don't know how widespread nor how deadly the coronavirus really is. Random testing is a way to quickly and easily learn this important information.


Politics + Society

Economy + Business

Environment + Energy

Ethics + Religion


Arts + Culture

Most read on site