Americans who lack reliable internet access are more likely to die of COVID-19, according to a study.

Researchers at the University of Chicago looked into 3,142 counties in 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and discovered that places with limited internet access had a higher coronavirus mortality rate.

The higher mortality rate was present regardless of other demographic factors such as race, age, socioeconomic status, education, disability, rent burden or health insurance status, according to the study published in the JAMA Network Open journal on March 4.

For every additional 1% of residents in a county who have internet access, researchers estimated that between 2.4 and six COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people could be prevented. The number can be around 5.8 for urban areas.

"We believe this finding suggests that more awareness is needed about the essential asset of technological access to reliable information, remote work, schooling opportunities, resource purchasing and/or social community," the study's authors said.

"Populations with limited internet access remain understudied and are often excluded in pandemic research," they added.

Aside from limited internet access, COVID-19 mortality rates in urban areas were also associated with immigrant communities with traditional family structures, multiple accessibility stressors and housing overcrowding.

Meanwhile, preventable hospital stays and higher socioeconomic status vulnerability were linked with higher mortality rates in rural and suburban areas, respectively.

The U.S. has reported a total of 79,486,762 COVID-19 cases and 966,575 virus-related deaths, according to publicly available data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Experts and health authorities in the country are on alert for another wave of the pandemic following a surge in infections in western Europe caused by the BA.2 subvariant of omicron, The Washington Post reported.

As many as 28 million seniors in the U.S. remain at risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, either because they are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated or because it has been more than five months since they received the second or third vaccine doses, according to CNN.

The CDC maintains that "getting vaccinated is the best way to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19."

Additionally, vaccines "are effective at preventing you from getting sick. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and death," according to the agency.