In today’s edition of the Morning newsletter, David Leonhardt writes:
The coronavirus is spreading more rapidly in rural areas of the U.S. than in urban areas. But one rural state continues to do a fabulous job keeping the virus away: Vermont.
The starkest sign of Vermont’s success is that it has not recorded a single Covid-19 death in more than two months.
Vermont is succeeding partly because it has not allowed the virus to become a partisan issue. The Republican governor, Phil Scott — unlike many other Republican politicians around the country — has consistently told people to take the virus seriously. “He started wearing a mask early in the pandemic and has stood at the back of the room in many of the state’s coronavirus briefings, letting Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s answer to Dr. Anthony Fauci, dominate proceedings,” Bill McKibben, a Vermont resident, wrote in The New Yorker.
Vermont also benefits from having a high degree of social trust among its residents, as Maria Sacchetti explained in The Washington Post. And Vermont has two strong local media organizations — VTDigger and Seven Days — that keep residents informed and that both took an intriguing step early in the pandemic, McKibben notes: They shut down their comments sections, to prevent misinformation from spreading.
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