Visitors And Vacationers Put Rural Texans At Risk

People “escaping” more densely populated areas for rural communities could bring COVID-19 to places inadequately equipped to handle the disease.

By Kristen CabreraApril 6, 2020 2:22 pm,

With some people leaving crowded cities to “escape” the coronavirus pandemic, small communities are now dealing with an influx of outsiders who are potentially exacerbating the spread of COVID-19.

BuzzFeed News Senior Culture Writer Anne Helen Petersen reports that this exodus is putting smaller towns at risk in many ways.

“Some of these people coming from cities, they get to the more rural areas and they think, ‘Oh, I’m safe,’” Petersen says. “And they let down some of their guard, whether that means not being very careful at the supermarket; or the inverse, which is thinking, now that they’re out of the city they can buy as much supplies as they want.”

Petersen says another challenge is insufficient health infrastructure in rural areas.

“And I think that a lot of people in these small communities, it maybe hasn’t hit them yet, but they know that it’s coming; they see it on the forecast for the next couple of weeks and they’re scared,” she says.

Petersen says it’s often wealthier people who are able to retreat to second homes or vacation rentals, and who have the ability to better self-isolate.

“I do think that the people who are most vulnerable to [the virus] – a lot of them are the people who can’t afford to stay home,” she says. “They have to work at the grocery store, they have to go work as sanitation workers.”


Written by Laura Rice.