Rural America watches pandemic erupt in cities as fear grows

Yellow cabs line an empty 42nd St. waiting for fares outside Grand Central Terminal, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 were rising faster than expected in New York as residents and leaders prepared for a peak in cases that is expected to still be weeks away. Temporary hospitals, and even a morgue in Manhattan, are being setup. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
By  | 

DUFUR, Ore. (AP) The pandemic's toll in big cities like New York, Seattle and San Francisco has dominated headlines, but large swaths of rural America are also deeply affected.

Tiny towns tucked into Oregon's windswept plains or on Alaska's arctic tundra might not have a single case of the new coronavirus yet, but these small communities are still wary.

They fear the spread of the disease to areas with scarce medical resources, the social isolation that comes when the only diner in town closes its doors and the economic free fall that's hitting hard in places where jobs were already hard to come by.