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Rural, disabled downplay public health guidance

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (1) – 7/31/20

The University of Montana Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities found that rural respondents reported higher rates of COVID-19 health risks, but adhered less to public health recommendations, including frequent hand washing and wearing masks. Andrew Myers, who coauthored the research, says a lot of it has to do with the fact that people tend to trust guidance from those they understand. Tragically, it is those in rural communities and those who are disabled who are not only at higher risk of health complications during a pandemic, but also at a higher risk of losing the services they would need to remain healthy, and recover if they were to fall ill. “In really any kind of health crisis, they’re usually the first to lose services, the first to experience any kinds of impacts—whether it be from health or economic,” Myers said.

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