Rural America Braces for Coronavirus

Grind for March 9th

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.” – Ronald Reagan


Brace Yourself

The Headline

Rural America Braces for Coronavirus

The Grind

Rural health systems are bracing for a surge in patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, that could overwhelm small and underfunded hospitals in areas where populations are particularly vulnerable to serious symptoms.

The coronavirus outbreaks in the United States have been the most intense in major cities and suburbs like New York, New Orleans, Detroit, Seattle and the Washington, D.C., area. But experts in rural health say they know the virus is headed their way, and they worry that smaller communities are even less prepared to handle an influx of cases than their big-city colleagues.

The Details

“We just haven’t seen big numbers, thankfully, but I feel like everything I say with COVID I should end with ‘yet,'” said Jacqueline Barton True, vice president of rural health programs at the Washington State Hospital Association.

When the virus does come, those experts say they are concerned that the rate of severe and critical cases could be higher than in larger cities. Rural residents tend to be older, are more likely to have underlying conditions like hypertension and heart disease that put them at greater risk of serious symptoms, and in some regions they are more likely to smoke than are residents of urban areas.

“Populations in our rural counties are older and sicker. When you look at those conditions that makes a population more vulnerable to COVID-19, we see a lot of that in our rural counties,” said Amy Stevens, vice president of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio. “We do see higher rates of poverty in our rural counties.” Read more…






The Headline

Bloomberg Staffers Slam Campaign Over Layoffs, and False Job Security

Ex-staffers of Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign are accusing the former New York City mayor of offering false promises of job security through the November election no matter what happened to his candidacy – as they now grapple with unemployment amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Bloomberg, who suspended his campaign after a sole Super Tuesday win in American Samoa, immediately endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nominee. And the campaign proceeded to go back on promises of retaining staff, according to class-action lawsuits already being filed or proposed.

Former staffers on his campaign spoke out this week, blasting him for laying off most of his campaign despite assurances that the jobs would last through the general election.


The Details

“They offered an incredible benefits package, which is unheard of for field staff, offering $8,000 a month for a regional role in addition to health care, technology, laptops, cellphones,” Amol Jethwani, an ex-Bloomberg regional organizing director, told NPR this week.

Jethwani also told NPR that in his role, he gave the same promises to prospective staffers, that “employment is guaranteed through November, location is not.”

Another ex-staffer told NPR much of the same, saying he did not know if he would have left his secure job “if it weren’t for that specific guarantee, because I knew I wanted to work on the general election.” Read more…



Did you know… Pringles aren’t actually potato chips.