A central question as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continues to climb is whether hospitals will be able to handle the sudden surge in patients. Estimates suggest at least a tenth of those who are infected with the virus and who develop covid-19, the disease associated with the virus, will need hospitalization. Many will require intensive care, straining hospital systems already dealing with the tail end of flu season. This is the motivation behind “flattening the curve” — encouraging people to limit transmission of the virus to keep hospital systems from being overwhelmed.That calculus assumes there are hospital systems to overwhelm. New analysis from Kaiser Health News published Friday suggests there are millions of Americans who live in counties where there may be no intensive-care unit beds at all. Many live in counties where there are not even hospitals.The presence of a hospital and of intensive-care units correlates to how rural the county is, as you might expect. But that also means there is a remarkable bit of overlap with politics, given how central the rural vote was to President Trump’s election in 2016.Comparing the county-level data from Kaiser Health News to 2016 presidential election data, we discovered


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