Monday, March 21, 2022

One of those things that should NOT be a surprise - but it is

Because of the current political winds, Americans tend to see most things through the eyes of a partisan divide. I am overly guilty of this myself.

Correlation with covid is one of those things we charge with politics. When blue cities or states, like New York, California and Boston, are hit with high covid numbers, Republicans use it to say masks don't work.

When Covid hits red states, Democrats say it is because the locals don't believe in science.

Funny how coastal writers use "internet" and "broadband access" interchangeably

But a much more serious correlation has been shown that has nothing to do with politics, it is internet access. And I find this explanation makes a lot of sense. 

I have seen the problems my mom has trying to get on the internet from rural-ish Montana - she has to pay for extra service, extra access and even then access is spotty and slow. Imagine if you lived somewhere without fiber and had a hard time paying the fees, or just can't get high speed internet.

So, I don't think it is a choice, per say, but a function of wealth and priorities.

I'm going to quote some of the article after the jump because it is so good.

...

More than a quarter of Americans still don’t have home broadband internet, and the proportion without access is twice as high for those without any college education and those who earn less than $30,000 a year. Only 63 percent of rural homes have broadband access, as do about half of those living on tribal lands — even if they have a computer.

These inequities were not created by chance. In the US, private internet service providers developed the infrastructure for broadband internet access where it was profitable. As a consequence, many of the country’s most marginalized communities have the fewest, most expensive, and lowest-quality choices when it comes to an internet service provider.

As those access gaps persisted over the years, more and more health services came online. That left those without access unable to use telemedicine, or even easily look up information about health conditions. Over the last few years, researchers have started to see internet access, and in particular high-speed broadband, as a critical component of health — something vital for connecting people not only with health care, but also with food, housing, education, and income, all of which are considered social determinants of health.

...

In Lin’s study, internet access was the only factor associated with higher mortality rates in rural, urban, and suburban areas (the study also included measures of socioeconomic status, education, age, and other demographic risk factors). The effect was strong: In rural areas, a 1 percent decrease in a county’s internet access was associated with 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people. But the effect was even stronger in urban areas, where the same difference in access was associated with nearly six deaths per 100,000 people.

The investigators weren’t surprised to find that low internet access was associated with high death rates, said study coordinator and co-author Susan Paykin. But they were surprised by how strong the association was, and surprised by its presence in both rural and urban areas.

None of the other demographic variables the team examined — including socioeconomic status — were significant across all three types of communities, said Paykin. There’s a lot of attention and research put into broadband gaps in rural areas, “but I think that misses a lot of what’s clearly going on in suburban and urban communities,” she said. That means lack of internet access isn’t just a rural infrastructure problem. It’s likely a problem of affordability in cities as well.

2 comments:

  1. As I understand it this is one of the things the BBB plan would help fix.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is especially frustrating when so many health services have gone to internet only !

    ReplyDelete

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