WASHINGTON, April 4 (Reuters) – Americans living in poorer counties died during the pandemic at almost twice the rate of those in rich counties, a study released Monday by the Poor People’s Campaign showed.
The study, based on income and death data from over 3,200 U.S. counties, shows an even bigger gap during the Delta variant that made up the U.S.’s fourth coronavirus wave, when people living in the lowest income counties died at five times the rate of those in the highest income counties.
The 300 counties with the highest death rates have an average poverty rate of 45%, and household median incomes on average $23,000 lower than counties with lower rates. Many of the top twenty counties were sparsely populated areas in Georgia, Texas and Virginia, the report and an accompanying map of death rates and income online show.
“The neglect of poor and low-wealth people in this country during a pandemic is immoral, shocking and unjust, especially in light of the trillions of dollars that profit-driven entities received,” said William Barber, director of the Poor People’s Campaign, an activist group that aims to correct the United States’ income inequality.
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More than 980,000 Americans have died of COVID, the most of any country in the world.
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(Reporting by Heather Timmons)