COVID Patients in Rural Settings Had Higher Death Rates Than Those in Urban Ones, Study Shows

April 9, 2024
The death rate was about 4% higher among those with rural residence than urban residence

A new study shows that “patients from rural counties had higher death rates and trended toward higher readmission rates following COVID-19 hospitalization than those from urban counties.”

Researchers “looked at outcomes through more than 600 days of follow-up. The 9,325 patients were hospitalized from March 2020 to July 2022 for COVID-19. Follow-up continued through May 2023.” Of those patients, 31% were from rural counties and 69% were from urban ones; the average age for the former was 66, and for the latter, 64. The authors also wrote that “patients from rural counties were more likely to be older, white, nonmarried (living alone), and current smokers compared to those from urban counties.”

During study follow-up, 1,738 deaths occurred: 21% of rural patients and 17% of urban patients died. Indeed, “rural residence was associated with a 22% higher all-cause mortality…and a 6% higher readmission rate.” Rural patients were also treated more often with COVID-specific or repurposed drugs, like remdesivir and dexamethasone, than urban patients.

The authors also made sure to mention that “rural residence remained a risk even in the post-vaccination landscape, because rural patients were still older and likely to report more comorbidities for severe COVID infection.”

CIDRAP has the news release.

About the Author

Matt MacKenzie | Associate Editor

Matt is Associate Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News.