As a nation begins to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday and the imminent arrival of winter, which will drive holiday gatherings indoors, a recent outbreak of the coronavirus in a rural community of the Amish offers a heads up warning of what could be lying ahead for other regions of the US.
As fate would have it, the outbreak remained somewhat confined, with only 30 individuals reportedly infected. Of those 30, three were reported as hospitalized, and one died. The victims all resided in a rural area of Wayne County, located in a north-central part of Ohio.
Although when the pandemic first hit, it was localized in larger cities, such as those of New York and Seattle, when summer came, the coronavirus shifted and moved outward, ravaging those communities located in more rural areas.
Now, according to health experts, as winter approaches, the coronavirus is shifting once again and appears to be returning to the big cities. However, this time around, there will be very little of the nation that will continue to feel its effects or remain immune. And, it is feared that the upcoming wave of the pandemic will be even more devasting that its last time around.
In a study recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rural communities such as the Amish pose a somewhat different set of challenges. The researches of the study pointed out the reason for the concern.
They offered that "rural residents might be at higher risk for severe COVID-19 associated illness because, on average, they are older, have a higher prevalence of underlying medical conditions, and have more limited access to health care services.”
The coronavirus outbreak that affected those members of the Amish community in Wayne County took place in May. Like most Amish, the community shuns the ways and trappings of the modern world and choose to live apart from others. For their communities, religious services and social gatherings are both an essential and significant part of their Amish culture.
Had the outbreak happened in the winter months, it would have assuredly been much worse, as most viruses, much like the flu, thrive longer in colder and drier environments. The same cold weather that drives individuals indoors in the winter months sets up the perfect conditions for the pathogen to be more likely to spread.
Will the winter months cause the coronavirus numbers to rise even more than the summer and fall months?