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Rural U.S. States See Increases in Coronavirus Cases
 

A nurse practitioner conducts a coronavirus screening at a free clinic in Charleston, West Virginia in April. West Virginia recorded its highest number of new infections on Sunday.MICHAEL S. WILLIAMSON/THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY IMAGES

 

SOME STATES WITH HIGH rural populations that were mostly spared during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic are experiencing an uptick in infections.

 

West Virginia, which was the last state to document a coronavirus infection, recorded its highest number of new infections on Sunday at 130.

 

The state has more than 3,400 cases of the virus, and its positivity rate has been increasing. Gov. Jim Justice on Monday announced that face coverings will be mandatory indoors to help curb the spread of the virus.

Governors in some states, like Florida, have pushed back on issuing statewide mask mandates. But Justice said that he made the decision to require masks "because I know in my heart if we don't, we are going to have funeral after funeral," according to local ABC affiliate WCHS-TV.

 

"I'm telling you, West Virginia, if we don't do this and do this now, we are going to be in a world of hurt," Justice added.

 

Other states with high rural populations are also seeing increases in cases, though to a smaller extent than the outbreaks in Texas, Arizona and Florida.

 

Kansas, where cattle outnumber people, is one of them. State officials report more than 17,000 cases of the virus. On Monday, it set a record for its worst two-week spike in reported coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

 

"I'm fully aware it's going in the wrong direction," Gov. Laura Kelly said after a news conference on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

 

[MAP: The Spread of Coronavirus]

 

Kelly has issued a mask mandate, though counties are allowed to opt out.

 

Cases in Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Iowa, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama are trending upward as well, according to data from The New York Times.

Nationwide infections are surging, with U.S. officials reporting more than 2.9 million cases and over 130,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Monday that "we are still knee deep in the first wave of this."

 

"I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline ... that really never got down to where we wanted to go," Fauci said in a Facebook and Twitter livestream. 

 

From:US.News 

 
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