Covid in the Country: Special Report
Covid in the Country
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Although the toll of the coronavirus has been most acute in urban areas, the virus has been spreading in rural America. The reasons behind the uptick are numerous, from lack of medical providers, hospitals and personal protective equipment, to limited broadband and large proportions of uninsured and poorly protected farm and factory workers.
“They’re called essential workers, but they’re not treated as essential human beings,” says Sandra Oxford of the Hudson Valley Labor Federation in this special report.
Is being rural a pre-existing vulnerability in this crisis? Equipped with a facemask and a selfie stick, Laura Flanders reports (from a responsible distance) on the impact of Covid-19 on one poor, rural county just 100 miles from New York City. She talks to poultry workers, dairy workers, artists, activists and labor organizers about what the pandemic has revealed about their county from its economic fragility, to the strength of local social networks. What fears do people have facing a future of more budget cuts and what sort of investment is most needed now?
This is an episode that speaks to rural and small town life that is rarely visible in our media, even when, as here, the community in question is just 100 miles from a global media capital. It also serves as an example of how journalists can continue to report safely in the midst of a pandemic.
This episode was co-produced by Sabrina Artel, the host of Trailer Talk, which airs on community radio station WJFF in Jeffersonville, Sullivan County, New York.
For more on the pandemic, check out our series Forward Thinking on Covid-19.