There is no doubt that coronavirus has become a major threat within the United States. People are being ordered to stay at home, wear masks when going out, and avoid contact with others. Although these restrictions are being imposed on almost all Americans, many rural areas remain fairly unaffected by the virus. There is no doubt that the virus will hit these areas eventually, but due to smaller populations and less people traveling, it could take much longer for those living in these areas to see the full effects of COVID-19.
States considered rural have a very small number of people per square mile. Some of these states include Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In these states, there are less than 15 people per square mile, with the least densely populated being Alaska, with only 1.3 people per square mile.
In a country the size of the United States, one answer is not right for all states, or even counties within that state. While some areas of the country are buckling down in hopes that they’re hospitals won’t get overwhelmed, some places haven’t even seen a single case. Take for example the state of Montana. Currently, the state is in total lockdown, with a stay at home order and only essential businesses open. Still, the virus is only isolated to certain areas, and over half of the counties haven’t even had a confirmed case.
The coronavirus should be handled on a county by county basis. Areas with bigger populations and more cases should be isolated in order to keep them safe. Regardless, it makes no sense to shut down the entire economy when there are places that are currently not facing this threat. Allowing some places to remain open would keep the economy running in these places and cause less harm to the country as a whole.
That’s not saying that rural areas should just be allowed to go about life completely normally. The government should be advising against travel and keep a close eye on who is going in and out of the county, and start closing businesses down if the virus seems to be becoming a threat in the area.
On April 16, Trump said that he would be letting governors “call the shots”. He even noted that some states may begin reopening before the original May 1 target. This should begin to open up the country, while allowing governors in high risk states to keep cities locked down.
Government officials need to recognize that each state is different. What might be the best policy in New York is likely not the best in rural Montana. Our country needs to begin opening up and let those who are not being affected by the virus go back to their regular lives.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.