Consumer Affairs: Omicron hit rural America harder than cities

UC finds higher mortality from COVID-19 in counties with lower vaccination rates

The finance blog Consumer Affairs highlighted a new study by the University of Cincinnati that found the omicron variant of COVID-19 disproportionately affected rural counties in the United States.

The fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2021 and early 2022 spread quickly in congested urban counties, researchers in UC's College of Arts and Sciences found. But it caused more deaths in rural counties where vaccinations are lagging.

The latest study by the University of Cincinnati, published inĀ the journal Frontiers in Medicine, revealed striking disparities in health care between urban and rural America.

Despite the lower overall mortality rate among infected patients from omicron compared to earlier variants, unvaccinated people were more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as vaccinated patients. Researchers concluded that vaccines make a huge difference in patient outcomes despite the high number of breakthrough cases of omicron among vaccinated patients.

Researchers say the study shows how effective vaccination is to protect people from the virus.

Read the Consumer Affairs story.

Six maps of the continental United States depict the spread of delta and omicron variants of COVID-19 in new cases, vaccination rates and K-means clustering.

Researchers used county health data to compare the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19. Researchers found that the highly infectious omicron variant spread more quickly in urban, populated areas but caused more fatalities in rural America. Some states had incomplete or missing data. Graphic/UC Digital Epidemiology Lab