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Rural Areas Face Growing Health Threats Beyond COVID-19

Cancellation of routine medical care due to the coronavirus has exacerbated chronic health conditions in rural America. Deaths from heart disease and chronic lung disease have been growing steadily in rural areas. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the death rate from heart disease is much higher in rural areas—and the disparity between rural and urban mortality has nearly doubled from 1999 to 2017. Rural Americans have a 61% higher chance of dying from chronic lung disease than Americans living in metropolitan areas. The greatest increases in death were among middle-aged Whites.

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