Gov. Jim Justice: Coronavirus May Drive Urban Exodus, Return to Rural Life

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Rural Explorer via Unsplash

Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) told Breitbart News the coronavirus outbreak may drive Americans to choose life in rural areas over urban alternatives. He joined Tuesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow to discuss West Virginia’s dealing with the virus.

Marlow asked about possible disenchantment with urban living among big city residents during the coronavirus outbreak and the appeal of rural life.

“We’re seeing that some of the most densely packed cities are what’s getting hit the hardest,” said Marlow of coronavirus infection rates. “It makes perfect sense when people literally live on top of each other and are sharing the same subway cabs constantly. There are huge levels of crazy international travel coming in and out. Do you think people are going to be yearning to end up in a place like West Virginia? Do you think it’s going to make your state more appealing to people?”

Justice replied, “Well, I would surely hope so. … If you could see what I’ve lived with every day in West Virginia, you would be packing up and heading here tomorrow, because it’s the most pristine air, the most pristine water, good family people that have real values, low crime, good schools, the roads are good.”


Justice continued, “There’s just so much goodness that’s happening right in West Virginia. We’re within a rock’s [throw] — we’re within 600 miles — of two-thirds of the population of this country, and border states all the way around us.”

Despite 19.9 percent of West Virginians being 65 years of age or older, the Mountain State has “fared amongst the best [of states] in terms of the virus,” Justice said. According to Axios’s interactive coronavirus map of the U.S., West Virginia has had 24 deaths from 902 cases of coronavirus infection. Per 100,000 persons, the coronavirus has caused one death and 49 infections in West Virginia.

West Virginia has been fortunate in its dealings with the coronavirus given its population being among “the oldest and and most chronically ill” in America, determined Justice.

“I don’t say that just because I want people to come to West Virginia or I’m crazy about West Virginia, honestly,” Justice said. “Maybe we’ve been behind in the past but [West Virginia] isn’t behind anymore.”

Justice remarked, “We’re watching the other states and all that is going on there, but at the same time, we’re kind of leading the way. … We don’t we don’t want to necessarily take something from the other states that’s maybe not the best thing for West Virginia.”

“People have such a misconception of West Virginians,” continued Justice, “and we’ve got a ton of really smart people here, and not only are they smart people, but they’re innovative in what they do and they’re crafty differently. We’re becoming very self-sufficient in our capabilities to manufacture our needs here.”

“We’re not piled right on of top of one another,” said Justice of West Virginia’s population density. According to the 2010 census, West Virginia was the 31st most densely populated state with 75.2 people per square mile of territory.

Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

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