• 82°

Guest Opinion: Rural communities must get serious about responding to COVID-19

By Sandra Renner

We are nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and cases in rural America are increasing at a rapid rate. The impacts vary greatly across rural states, yet per-capita infections are most extreme in communities occupied by meatpacking plants, predominantly in the Midwest, low-income African American communities in the Southeast, and Native Americans.

Rural racial health inequities rose to the top quickly as the pandemic came to a head. Many rural communities need COVID-19 information shared widely in additional languages. On top of details about the spread of COVID-19 and safe practices, community members require continued guidance on the effectiveness of masks, as well as navigating work, school, and community at a safe social distance.

In addition to limited English speakers being at risk, Native Nations across our state are facing dire conditions as a result of COVID-19. Our nation’s first peoples are particularly susceptible to this pandemic due to issues of nutritional access, resource distribution, and education. Health conditions associated with vulnerability to COVID-19 include diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and obesity.

Where one lives or their ethnic background should not dictate access to good health care and a high quality standard of living. How we respond to challenges and opportunities today will dictate the future of growth in both rural and urban spaces across the country.

If we are serious about supporting rural communities, people, and families during COVID-19, providing support for our most vulnerable populations is our starting point. We need to identify the barriers currently in place to accessing COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination, and address them now.

Sandra Renner is Farm and Community director at Center for Rural Affairs.

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION SECTION HERE.

News

Kill Devil Hills Police Department warns of phone scam

News

Ocracoke Express passenger ferry service starts Monday, reservations now available

News

American mink: Seldom seen on Pea Island

News

Searchers comb river for missing tubers after group goes over dam in NC

News

Teen sleeping in hammock attacked by bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Crime

North Carolina man convicted by federal jury of drug and firearm charges

Lifestyles

Lifeguards enjoy Lions fish fry

News

Small plane crashes near North Carolina drag strip, claiming life of pilot

Crime

North Carolina man accused of kidnapping hoax to scam grandparents

Lifestyles

The Little Free Pantry: Helping to fight hunger in Dare County

Currituck

Moyock residents share flooding concerns

News

Three dead, two missing after tubers go over North Carolina dam

News

Columbia officials issue reminder about what goes down drains

News

Veterans’ tax exemption expanded in bill clearing North Carolina House

News

Child of North Carolina police officer dies in shooting

Crime

North Carolina man faces multiple charges after hitting police cars, sparking chase

Currituck

Currituck approves 2021-22 budget, wild horse management agreement

Crime

Two Virginia men arrested after vehicle pursuit from Nags Head to Roanoke Island

Business

Donation supports this year’s Inshore Slam

News

North Carolina election bills unlikely to become laws after Senate votes

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to over 28 years in prison for drug and firearm charges

News

Several speak out against mask requirements at Dare County Schools

News

Federal appeals court refuses to reinstate North Carolina abortion ban

Crime

North Carolina man accused of firing at police substation charged in deaths of family members