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The coronavirus will soon wreak havoc in Trump country — here’s why

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According to three public health policy experts writing for the Washington Post, rural communities that are strongholds of Donald Trump voters are about to feel the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the country’s major metropolitan areas and it will likely will be worse.

In their column for the Post, Michelle A. Williams, a dean at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Bizu Gelaye from Massachusetts General Hospital and Emily M. Broad Leib, deputy director of the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation claim it is only a matter of time before COVID-19 ravages small communities — and that the effects will likely be worse for a multitude of reasons.

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Writing, “Covid-19 is infiltrating more of the country with each passing day. Colorado, Utah and Idaho are grappling with sudden clusters in counties popular with out-of-state tourists. Cases are also skyrocketing in Southern states such as Georgia, Florida and Louisiana,” they add, “So far, sparsely populated communities have been better insulated from the spread. But since no place in the United States is truly isolated, there’s simply no outrunning this virus. Every community is at imminent risk.”

Noting that people living in rural communities tend to be older — and thus more susceptible to the coronavirus — the trio of experts explain they already “…suffer from a rural mortality penalty, with a disparity in mortality rates between urban and rural areas that has been climbing since the 1980s. Chronic financial strain and the erosion of opportunity have contributed to “deaths of despair” as well as a rise in conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke. Add in prolonged social distancing and the economic downturn, and these trends will surely worsen.”

More importantly, those communities lack the health facility infrastructure to handle heavy critical care caseloads.

“Rural counties have just 5,600 intensive care beds total, compared with more than 50,000 in urban counties. In fact, half of U.S. counties do not have any ICU beds at all. And even if these counties are somehow able to scale up their infrastructure, experts are afraid there will not be enough health-care workers to staff them,” they wrote. “Long before the novel coronavirus emerged as a threat, America’s rural hospitals were already in dire financial straits. About 1 in 4 are vulnerable to being shuttered, with 120 having closed in the past decade. With the pandemic looming, many of these health systems have been forced to cancel elective procedures and non-urgent services such as physical therapy and lab tests, which in some cases account for half of their revenue. As cash flow wanes, the American Hospital Association warns that even more hospitals could be forced to shut their doors exactly when patients need them most.”

“It is clear the battle against covid-19 will look vastly different in the heartland than in our cities. The U.S. Navy won’t be docking a floating hospital in Nuckolls County, Neb,” they added. “But if what’s happened in America’s coastal cities can teach us anything, it’s that the coming weeks will determine the trajectory of this virus. And we don’t have a moment to waste.”

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Soledad O’Brien scolds Tomi Lahren on Twitter after she calls people ‘sheep’ for Memorial Day

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Journalist Soledad O'Brien fired back at Fox News personality Tomi Lahren after she called Americans "sheep" for following pandemic safety rules on Memorial Day.

"I gotta hand it to COVID-19, you sure did expose the sheep among us," Lahren wrote in a tweet over the Memorial Day weekend.

I gotta hand it to COVID-19, you sure did expose the sheep among us.

— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) May 24, 2020

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2020 Election

Trump’s policies could come back to haunt him as he struggles to save his presidency from COVID-19: columnist

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In a column for Washington Monthly, Annie Kim suggested that Donald Trump will likely be handcuffed by his own economic policies as he attempts to deal with the collapse of the U.S. economy in large part due to the coronavirus pandemic that raged out of control on his watch.

With close to 40 million Americans now unemployed and the president's administration pumping trillions into the economy to keep the country afloat as businesses shutter, Kim suggested that Trump is in a major bind of his own making that could cost him re-election.

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Trump supporters revolt against contact tracing — as scientists say its the best way to safely reopen the economy

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Supporters of President Donald Trump want the economy to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic that so far has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.

But as The Daily Beast's Will Sommer reports, many of these same Trump supporters are already revolting against contact tracing, which scientists say is the best way to safely reopen the economy.

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