Georgia reverend: ‘This town was shattered’

A look at the poor, rural counties crushed by COVID-19 as U.S. death toll surges past 250,000.
10:40 | 11/20/20

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Transcript for Georgia reverend: ‘This town was shattered’
January 29 that was the day of the first known death in the west from corona virus within weeks America's financial capital came under wrestled with Kobe killing thousands before making its deadly spread to other cities and counties and it's now ravaging America's heartland. As of this moment 251970. Americans have died from Coleman's nineteen. Every fifteen minutes ten Americans die yet unlike so many American trash meetings this one hasn't brought us together some Americans still believe the pandemic is fate does this is summing leads us off with the impact of the lives lost in the communities that have shouldered the biggest burden. Yeah. Little ethanol. And it's. Neil was run Golden Eagles. Steele's uncertain time anyway I have timing you know my mama doesn't mean and resident found that happened last. Name yeah. Can't call. Here in the heart of rural Georgia reverend Willard westerners praying for mercy from the corona expect eagle war. To keep it from stealing more lie. That doesn't has been extended now play mean and mean the way let me go away and when you're already know we must let. Yeah. That's artist Baptist Church in Dawson this is what services looked like before the pandemic. These are services here today streamed online with only a few people. Willing to sit in the pews. Families are still worried that if they come to church they could get sick and die. Even the Wednesday night Bible studies now broadcast from the pastors hold Karachi to be ladies. It wants you to two whale. We wouldn't be visiting this place if it weren't for these next unfortunate facts there were 32 people here who died of Covert nineteen during the height of the pandemic. Making the death rate here at the twelfth deadliest of any county in the country. This is Terrell Tony George. The birthplace of Otis Redding whose blue songs are the pride of the peak hour tomorrow. Yard. Hair it Paul Wagner school. It is far away from the slick streets and fancy restaurants of any big city. Home to about 9000 people most of them black and most of them cool war. Across America there is a new signpost. On the very tragic road more than a quarter million people in this country have now died from Covert ninety. ABC news has joined our ABC owned stations in cities across the country taking a closer look at the data. And it underlines the 100 counties in the country with the highest rate of death many of them rural and Cold War. We know and rule America party has. B capacity problem when it comes to health care. There is just not the same level of access as there is being urban Hobbs. What were actually seen when we look at our data. Rule communities actually experience a much more severe spike in cases and than what we see in urban areas which. Shows that these epidemics are much more drawn out. So if you have a massive spike in cases and death. The whole systems there that are still even open just can't withstand the week. Volume of patients. And thereby from that many people and I just because of lack of access to quality care. Both Randolph and Carroll counties and rule Georgia are so terribly high on the list that the ministers here had trouble clearing the red clay from their shoes. I often had to lead more than one funeral that day. Discount store. And it. But it was. One of reverend Weston's ministers Polly and Tolbert got sick and marched and died a few weeks later it was a double funeral. The corona virus killed her husband mr. Benjamin Tolbert to. The reverend was set to deliver the eulogy about an hour before the grave site service when the phone rang in his pocket. Got his call that my foot of the opening. He was the he was might not be well. We were re either in house again. And so force that he was bit gathered always look to the strength when mom dad when we're not payments a month. Game I grant prepares to leave their perfectly struck. And I get a call and we didn't know he was no he became quite. Equipment. He says this is how it was for months people managing their own grief. As they were helping neighbors get through tears and giving a hug or shoulder to cry on felt deadly that has to be hard. Because I'm assuming that every time someone went to a hospital. You worry they weren't coming back exactly. And that alone. I can only conclude but it one and sometimes Taylor want to live. Asparagus then. A big bed hoping that the status about your faith was testing it was it was there north faith and got exactly. Look Tosh and Taylor says she's being tested to her aunt dismissed Polly hand. And after burying the told Kurtz she had to bury her own mother just two months later. This anatomy and raised have. I'm. Now. Davis was prayer. Is her obituary. I'm out and me in ways. I'd probably have an open bases. The day. After her funeral. In anomaly town. Audi cope how you deal would. My mom's been our lab every now. And their preferences is sending me. Go away. I feel right in my family there have been away from me about something that we and that's the dogs are they would lets us do we just another Lucas and it. But they were whipped away. An instinct. So quickly. And is down haven't come soon could the with the what do you stage to. All of those people who want to say that. These deaths are made well. I can't we absolutely stand you bed. When I would pay. Three death certificate they. Are hand found relation to company magazine. So what ever this virus it is. People that way air Billy. Or had a preexisting conditions it wasn't really a big thing. And people die. Now I've never seen me anything else. And my 41 years of being. Bat there has taken people out like that. So the Heston is some truth so it. She says the corona virus has broken her heart into pieces and believes that if her mother lived in a big city with access to better health care. She might still be alive today. Does it feel like. The rest of the country forgets. About rural areas absolutely. There's the lives that's involved Davies does not found in ours cannot I would downing Beers we op them out. Well not talked about. The pastor said something that caught our attention. That in this town there's no hospital but plenty of funeral homes have an agent care and hospital but you have for funeral camps for fumes. Exact. What sense. I mean I'm sure that's not by design. But it just is crazy do you have for funeral homes and lost mr. Mr. That's just it's like it it's almost. It's Ers are like who were ready for the dead. But. We're not. Taking terrible it can. Yeah. But when you look at the number of deaths and take a step back and think about what 250000. Lives really look like. It's a bit overwhelming a match and turning on the news and learning that the entire city of Birmingham Alabama is goal. Aware about Salt Lake City or roughly the population of Reno Nevada or Buffalo, New York. And my hometown of Peoria Illinois with a population of about a 1101000. Everyone's gone. More than two times over and when you look at the number who have been infected in this country more than eleven million Americans that's more people in who live and all but ten states. More people than in North Carolina and Georgia the toxic Taylor says like many people here she's tired of being sat. My mom would have been celebrating hair sixties advent. On Monday. This is where I'm now had to succumb instead of race. This is the one place in the war world where her heart aches the hardest. She told us to share that she's in counseling. And that everyone needs to take the corona virus seriously. Do whatever you have to did a particular sadly your family. Indulges Brescia job. Since being bad. You know estimate. The because that either you are dying. I'm asked them if there ever. Peabody I had to stay play ever. Bed. You know and their lives he agrees I mean less. For ABC news lie I'm Steve Olson Sonny. In south torture. For funeral homes but no hospital that says it all our thanks to Steve for bringing us that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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