How a rural county became COVID-19 denialists, and now a pandemic hot spot:

I’m three months into pretty much isolation out here in Lyon County where 25,000 residents spread over 720 square miles pretty much make social distancing the default. While New York, Minneapolis, and other big cities were overrun by the pandemic back in March and April we waited for our first case and then the second, third, etc.. For the rare meeting we couldn’t do online we masked up, socially isolated, and got it over with ASAP. Noting the modeling that showed the viruses taking months to peak in rural counties like ours, I made another Costco run and stocked up for a couple more months.

I and my “liberal” friends followed the science and kept our virus guard up. But most of the populace followed conservative media, lost their masks, and partied in closed parks. The mayor of the county’s largest city appeared on social media opening up a new archery range with neither masks nor social distancing in use. The increase in COVID-19 cases went logarithmic, while the ad revenue driven local media buried the story while cheerleading “reopening”.

Bit over a week ago we passed 100 cases, then 200, and 258 today. That’s one percent of our county’s population that’s infected, suffering, and in 2 cases dead from the COVID-19 virus. Only 9 of Minnesota’s 87 counties have more than 1% of their population infected by the virus, and every one of those counties is rural. And unlike some of those other hotspot counties, Lyon county doesn’t have meat packing plants with thousands of workers under one roof to blame.

Yup, the conservative lily white good ol’ boys and girls of rural Lyon County deserve full credit for infecting a higher proportion of themselves with the COVID-19 virus than any county in the Minneapolis/St.Paul metro area. In that multicultural metro masks and social distancing is the norm, and the COVID-19 case counts have barely budged.


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