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The South, Sickest Part of a Sick America, Falls Prey to Virus

A region beset by obesity and diabetes is uniquely vulnerable.

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WHO Director Is 'Deeply Concerned' About Rising Numbers of Covid-19 Deaths
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A virus that is particularly lethal for people with underlying health conditions is now spreading into the unhealthiest part of the U.S.: the South.

For decades,­ people in the 11 states that seceded during the Civil War -- America’s poorest region -- have suffered from a scourge of obesity and hypertension, which intensify the danger of the coronavirus and the Covid-19 respiratory disease that it causes. Four of the five states with the highest diabetes rates are in the South. And eight didn’t expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving thousands of families without access to routine care, even as financially troubled rural hospitals wither away.