In the latest COVID-19 update from The Daily Yonder, rural infections have skyrocketed, breaking past infection records. As of Jan. 8 there are 393,000 new rural infections, breaking last winter’s record of 232,000 cases during the 2021 winter surge.

From the update: “Although the Omicron variant was initially slower to move into rural America, rural counties are now seeing higher rates of infection increase than metropolitan areas. New infections grew by 110% in rural counties last week. In metropolitan counties, new cases grew by 60%.

Deaths are also on the rise in both rural and metropolitan America, after declining slightly two weeks ago. The number of Covid-related deaths in rural counties climbed about 20% last week, to 2,264. In metropolitan counties, deaths grew by 25%, to 8,407.

Deaths are a trailing indicator of Covid-19 infections, so last week’s increase in deaths could be related to infections that began weeks ago, before the onset of the Omicron surge in rural counties. Infections caused by the Omicron variant are generally less severe than previous variants of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.”

According to the update, North Dakota’s rural COVID infections increased by almost 320%, higher than the state’s metropolitan rate of 300%.

To read the rest of the update on the Yonder, click here.