Public health partisanship confronts a new reality: The virus is surging in rural America


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By The Washington Post. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
This week, the United States reached a grim milestone: Covid-19 deaths surpassed 100,000 in this country. In recent weeks, the geographic areas and the communities this deadly virus touches, have begun to shift.

The Washington Post analyzed case data and interviews with public health professionals in several states to find that the pandemic, which first struck in major cities, is now increasingly moving into the country’s rural areas.

Rural America faces unique and significant challenges that make an outbreak there likely to be particularly deadly. What’s more, the virus seems to have taken hold in many of the counties where residents are more likely to flout social distancing guidelines or believe the pandemic to be exaggerated by President Trump’s political foes and a liberal media.

The virus’s effect on rural America may make things more politically complicated for the president, who has at times raised doubt around key public health measures like masks, business closures and social distancing.

So in our current political climate, where health guidance seems to have become a heated partisan issue, how might a shift in which parts of the country are touched by the pandemic alter the actions of Trump or his supporters? Might the Trump campaign’s political calculations change? And how might partisan divisiveness over public health measures evolve, as the virus moves to previously unaffected parts of the country?

On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, national reporter Abigail Hauslohner discusses the tragic vulnerabilities many counties in rural America face, as the coronavirus surges across many parts of the country that were originally spared from it. Plus, senior political reporter Aaron Blake offers insight into the relationship between the president, partisanship and public health guidelines.

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