The COVID-19 pandemic alerted the U.S. populace to spatial patterns of health outcomes. Trusted sources of information such as the Johns Hopkins University and The New York Times mapped COVID-19 indicators at the county-level, bringing widespread attention to the timing and clustering of case rates, mortality, and vaccine uptake. The severity of the pandemic has motivated the research community to share data and conduct analyses to illuminate and project trends that would be useful for healthcare providers and policy makers in their communities. This special issue of the Journal of Rural Social Sciences explores the roles space and place have on COVID-19 outcomes and experiences. The contributing authors consider the importance of context, individual-level factors within those environments, and what mitigation efforts might be most useful in improving health outcomes.

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