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27 factors that make you vulnerable to COVID-19

  • Rural population: COVID-19 connection

    - Total rural population: 57.2 million (17.7% of U.S. population)

    The earliest cases of COVID-19 were reported from urban areas, but while New York City has seen over 200,000 cases, rural areas are at a unique risk for complications from COVID-19. However, while the spread has been slower in non-urban areas, rural areas tend to have older populations, the younger people are more likely to have pre-existing health conditions, and hospitals have fewer ICU beds per capita.

  • Rural population: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. Alaska: 87.2% of state population (208.5% above national average)

    #2. Vermont: 71.2% (152.0% above national average)

    #3. Wyoming: 69.4% (145.3% above national average)

    #4. Montana: 67.5% (138.8% above national average)

    #5. South Dakota: 58.5% (106.8% above national average)

    South Dakota, a state that is 58.5% rural, has been suffering from COVID-19 in part due to the kind of industry prevalent in the state: meatpacking plants. As of May 29, the state has had 59 deaths.

  • Multigenerational households: COVID-19 connection

    - Total multigenerational households: 4.6 million (1.4% of total households)

    Older people are more at risk for COVID-19 complications, which makes limiting their exposure important. This can be hard to do in multigenerational households, where seniors live with their children and grandchildren, making exposure to the virus through one of their family members more likely.

  • Multigenerational households: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. Hawaii: 7.9% of state population (137.0% above national average)

    #2. California: 5.9% (74.7% above national average)

    #3. Texas: 4.9% (45.7% above national average)

    #4. Mississippi: 4.7% (40.4% above national average)

    #5. Maryland: 4.6% (37.9% above national average)

    The number of multigenerational households has risen since the Great Recession in 2008, mostly for financial reasons, according to Generations United. In order to help these families navigate COVID-19, Generations United has created a fact sheet for families living together, as well as to help families stay connected when they are physically apart.

  • Multiunit housing: COVID-19 connection

    - Total multiunit housing: 18.3 million (5.7% of all housing units)

    Large apartment buildings could be places where COVID-19 might spread more easily. According to research from 2017, pathogens like a coronavirus can travel through a building’s airflow used to move its plumbing system when that system is not working correctly. However, It is not currently known whether COVID-19 has been spreading significantly in this way.

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  • Multiunit housing: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. District of Columbia: 46.2% of state population (292.1% above national average)

    #2. New York: 28.0% (137.6% above national average)

    #3. Hawaii: 24.5% (107.9% above national average)

    #4. North Dakota: 19.9% (69.0% above national average)

    #5. Florida: 19.3% (63.7% above national average)

    Washington D.C. and New York have the highest proportion of multiunit housing, which isn’t surprising as Washington D.C. is itself a city, and New York State is home to the country’s largest city, New York City. While it has not been shown that either of these cities has experienced COVID-19 due to multiunit housing specifically, both places have experienced high rates of the virus.

  • Nursing home population: COVID-19 connection

    - Total nursing home population: 1.3 million (0.4% of U.S. population)

    Nursing homes are risky places for COVID-19 not only because they generally have residents who are senior citizens, but also because of the way the United States health care system is designed and how it has handled COVID-19. According to an article in The Atlantic following the initial COVID-19 outbreak in nursing homes in Seattle, health officials still did not prioritize residents in these facilities for testing and equipment.

  • Nursing home population: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. Iowa: 0.8% of state population (74.3% above national average)

    #2. Rhode Island: 0.7% (70.9% above national average)

    #3. North Dakota: 0.7% (69.8% above national average)

    #4. South Dakota: 0.7% (59.9% above national average)

    #5. Ohio: 0.6% (46.5% above national average)

    Iowa has the largest population percentage in nursing homes of all 50 states. As of May 15, 57% of the state’s deaths were in nursing homes. In addition, the state has not been adequately updating its public information on cases in nursing homes. One nursing home administrator said that he reported four confirmed coronavirus cases among its residents on May 8, but that state officials did not publicize the outbreak until nearly three weeks later.

  • Incarcerated population: COVID-19 connection

    - Total incarcerated population: 1.2 million (0.4% of U.S. population)

    Over 1 million people in the United States are in prison—0.4% of the population. In fact, the United States has more people in prison than any other country in the world. Prisons are places without much personal space, and as the prison population has gotten older—155,000 incarcerated people were 55 or older in 2016, the most recent year with data—prisons are especially risky for COVID-19 transmission and complications. As of May 27, there were at least 35,584 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in prisons.

  • Incarcerated population: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. Montana: 1.7% of state population (330.3% above national average)

    #2. Louisiana: 0.7% (75.1% above national average)

    #3. Alaska: 0.7% (74.8% above national average)

    #4. Mississippi: 0.6% (61.3% above national average)

    #5. Oklahoma: 0.6% (60.9% above national average)

    As COVID-19 began to move through the United States, some states began releasing high-risk prisoners incarcerated for nonviolent crimes. However, the impact of the coronavirus in United States jails has been called a “death sentence,” and testing has been lacking.

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