People in counties that voted Trump more likely to die from Covid - study

  • In Politics
  • 2021-12-07 07:00:21Z
  • By The Guardian
Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images  

People in counties that voted for Donald Trump are nearly three times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those who live in counties that voted for Joe Biden, according to a new study by National Public Radio.

NPR examined deaths per 100,000 people in about 3,000 counties across the US since May 2021. According to NPR, 1 May was chosen as the start date as it is roughly the time when vaccines became universally available to adults.

The study found that areas that voted for Trump by at least 60% in November 2020 had death rates 2.7 times higher than counties that voted heavily for Biden.

The study also found that counties that voted for Trump by an even higher percentage had lower vaccination rates and higher Covid-19 death rates.

Charles Gaba, an independent analyst who helped review NPR's methodology, said that in October, the reddest 10th of the country saw death rates six times higher than the bluest 10th.

"Those numbers have dropped slightly in recent weeks," he said. "It's back down to 5.5 times higher."

Hawaii, Nebraska and Alaska were excluded from the study because they either do not report election results by county or do not report county-level vaccine data.

The study only examined the geographic locations of Covid-related deaths. The political views of each person remain unknown. Nevertheless, according to NPR, "the strength of the association, combined with polling information about vaccination, strongly suggests that Republicans are being disproportionately affected".

People in rural Republican areas, and white Republicans in general, tend to be more resistant to getting vaccinated. According to the latest data from the Kaiser Family Fund, the rate of Republican Covid vaccination has plateaued at 59%, while 91% of Democrats have been vaccinated.

Republicans have been found to be more likely to believe misinformation about Covid and vaccines. According to KFF, 94% of Republicans think one or more false statements about Covid and vaccines might be true, and 46% believe four or more statements might be true. Only 14% of Democrats believe four or more false statements about the virus.

The most widely believed false statement is that the government is exaggerating the number of Covid deaths.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 788,000 people have died of Covid in the US.

Numerous Republican governors have dismissed concerns about low vaccination rates and pushed for ending public health measures such as mask wearing and social distancing in favor of reopening businesses.

"We've seen lower levels of personal worry among Republicans who remain unvaccinated," Liz Hamel, vice-president of public opinion and survey research at KFF, told NPR. "That's a real contrast with what we saw in communities of color, where there was a high level of worry about getting sick."


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