Rural Americans stopped staying in. Then COVID-19 hit.

Urban Americans have been going out more as well in recent months, the data show—just not as much as rural people. In many rural counties, the percentage of people who went out each day is back to what it was before the pandemic hit.

In mid-November, people in rural counties spent an average of almost five hours away from home each day—about 20% more than people in urban places.

One of the hardest hit by the virus on a per capita basis is rural Hodgeman County in western Kansas, which had 45 new cases in the week ended Nov. 7—nearly one for every 40 people in the county.

Many residents sheltered during the spring despite having relatively few cases, but they now have largely returned to going out as much as they did before the pandemic, the data show.