A deserted Main Street in Illinois represents the economic challenges small businesses and municipalities have faced since the COVID outbreak. Organizations in economically struggling communities also face cybersecurity challenges, experts say. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This is part one of a two-part series.

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the American health care system, underfunded medical centers are struggling to provide adequate care. And patients in poorer counties, who may not have access to better options, are experiencing higher mortality rates than average.

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